A new year traditionally brings resolutions but how about some predictions instead.
Ahead of us lies the final half of the league season, the usual array of cup competitions and the important task of Bafana Bafana seeking to qualify for the 2012 African Nations Cup finals.
The national side plays Egypt both and home in key clashes certain to decide the top place and automatic qualification to the finals tournament in early 2012 in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
With Bafana already opening a little lead over the Egyptians after two matches in the group, the game at the end of March will be the most vital. Should Pitso Mosimane’s charges win against the reigning African champions, they will well on course for qualification but anything but a home victory will jeopardise South African chances and open the doors for the Pharaohs.
Kaizer Chiefs did everyone in the Premier Soccer League title race, save for Mamelodi Sundowns, a big favour when they beat Patrice Motsepe’s team on Saturday afternoon at Soccer City.
With Orlando Pirates and Ajax Cape Town also winning the same day, there is a now again a tantalizing traffic jam at the head of the log standings.
Expect there will be many more twists and turns before the seasons concludes in May but Chiefs could now have the right momentum to take the title. In Knowledge Musona they have a player capable of replicating what Collins Mbesuma did in 2004/2005 by almost single handedly shooting the club to the crown.
What Chiefs need to ensure now is not getting too involved in a run in the Nedbank Cup because they have a nasty habit of losing focus when embarking on cup runs. It has proven in the past to drag their attention away from the league.
Sundowns still have the best squad among the 16 PSL sides and on their day can be devastating but there is also an air of panic and uncertainty about them when things suddenly turn. Perhaps there is too much desire for success from the top after all the millions spent in recent years, and as a result a constant pressure hanging over their squad.
Pirates should be up there too but there remain questions over their mental stamina for the long haul.
And the big three will probably be looking over their shoulder at the ever-improving Ajax Cape Town, who might prove difficult to shrug off.
I reckon there will be an upset in the Nedbank Cup and will wildly predict Manqoba Mngqithi’s AmaZulu to beat Platinum Stars in the final. Imagine the reverence for sage like qualities I’ll receive if that turns out to be the case.
As for Bafana Bafana, they were decidedly unimpressive in their last game against the Americans and face a really tough opponent in the Egyptians. I’m not convinced Mosimane has a good enough team to beat them but hope I’m wrong.
Right, now I’m ready to see your tips. Do it in this format and let’s see who is smartest come May.
League winner: Kaizer Chiefs
Runner-up: Mamelodi Sundowns
Player of the season and top scorer: Knowledge Musona
Next transfer overseas: Knowledge Musona
Nedbank Cup: AmaZulu
Bafana v Egypt: Just pray!