Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates are like Eskom
Sundowns are basically out of sight at the top of the table.
Ashley Du Preez of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Bandile Shandu of Orlando Pirates (Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix)
A New Year brings with it a new Phakaaathi supplement, albeit on the second Tuesday of 2023, as after a well-earned break we return with spirits renewed and hope in our hearts.
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Well Sundowns fans certainly do, and Manchester City fans, and Arsenal fans and Manchester United fans.
Not so sure about Chelsea fans, Kaizer Chiefs fans or Orlando Pirates fans. They might already wish the first part of this year folds itself up into the tiniest of particles and just disappears.
It must be nice being in love with Masandawana. Rulani Mokwena’s men are as reliable as Christmas itself, always bringing presents to their supporters in the form of three points, followed by another and another….you get the picture.
Chiefs and Pirates, meanwhile, are more like Eskom – they turn your power on for a bit, only to quickly fall back into familiar darkness.
So it was this weekend, as the Buccaneers and Amakhosi both lost, while Sundowns are basically out of sight at the top of the table, though we can expect Mokwena to deny the title is done and dusted for a few months yet, perhaps even until Sundowns lift a sixth straight DStv Premiership trophy in front of the Yellow Nation.
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Over in England, meanwhile, Manchester City are playing with familiar all-conquering flair under Pep Guardiola, while Arsenal are finally giving their fans something to smile about, after more than a few years of abject misery.
Erik Ten Hag also seems to be lifting Manchester United out of a long-standing rut, as they look the most likely to challenge City and Arsenal for the English Premier League title.
Chelsea are nowhere, way down the EPL table and suffering setback after setback under new head coach Graham Potter.
In Sunday’s embarrassing 4-0 thumping by City in the FA Cup, Chelsea fans started singing the names of former owner Roman Abramovich and former head coach Thomas Tuchel.
This is what happens when your supporters are used to seeing a coach sacked when expectations are not met. The new American owners have promised faith in Potter, though they showed little in Tuchel.
They clearly see Potter as a man to lead Chelsea in the long term, with the old adage of trusting the process hanging thick in the West London air.
Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp are certainly living proof that having faith in a coach through thick and thin can reward owners in the long term. The problem for Potter is that it is hard to trust a process when it is so unclear what his is at the moment.
The Chelsea coach chops and changes his team so much it is a bit like watching a chef with so many ingredients not knowing what the best combination is to make a magnificent feast or in Potter’s case, a magnificent team.
Unless Graham Potter can borrow a wand from his namesake Harry and cast as spell, there is going to be no quick fix for the Blues.