With the curtain coming down on 2018, KickOff.com looks back at some the stand-out events over the past 12 months – some good, some bad and some shameful.
Starting off at international level, Banyana Banyana made history by qualifying for their first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup as they fell narrowly short of a first AWCON title just last month, and this after also successfully defending their COSAFA Cup. Several of the senior women’s team players also earned groundbreaking moves abroad.
Bantwana also qualified for their first FIFA Women’s U-17 World Cup since 2010 earlier this year, as coach Siphiwe Dludlu led their charge with an impressive effort in the qualifiers.
Domestically, Free State Stars and Baroka both marked club records as they stormed to cup success in the Nedbank Cup and Telkom Knockout respectively, with the former ending a 24-year trophy drought while the latter bagged their first ever title in their brief 11-year history. Sustainability and further growth of those not listed will be crucial for SAFA in 2019.
Maladministration remained prevalent in the Premier Soccer League this year as Ajax Cape Town’s massive blunder on Ndorogate cost them their top-flight status, although it could be argued that the League itself could have done more to avoid the messy, tedious and embarrassing processes that followed. Meanwhile AmaZulu were deducted six points for failing to abide by FIFA’s orders regarding an unlawful contract termination dating back to 2014. More efforts ought to be put into ensuring capable and responsible officials are appointed off-the-field.
Despite the history of stadium deaths and injuries in South African football, insufficient security measures remain a grave concern for supporters around the country. After unruly and thuggish behavior led to costly damage at Loftus Versfeld during an Absa Premiership clash between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates last year, similar scenes broke out after Kaizer Chiefs lost to Free State Stars in a Nedbank Cup clash at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in April this year. With PSL having partnered with SAPS in a desperate effort to curb stadium riots, plenty more needs to be rectified in as far as sufficient security measures are concerned in 2019, if dismal attendance numbers are to be improved on.