from DION HENRICK in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) – LOG-leaders Stellenbosch FC are distraught at the suspension of the DStv Diski Challenge.
However, the team believes the move by the authorities was justified and inevitable in the wake of the second wave of the coronavirus (COVID-19) sweeping through the country.
The Premier Soccer League (PSL), after consultation with sponsors MultiChoice, announced the postponement of the reserve league on Wednesday, with immediate effect.
The games are deferred until further notice and while a reason was not given, it apparently is because of the pandemic wreaking havoc in the country.
Stellies, a point above second-placed Kaizer Chiefs, would be the most disheartened following an imperious start to the new season having secured ten points after four matches.
“Obviously we are very disappointed as a team, boys are gutted as we were just gaining momentum,” Jason Rhoda, Stellenbosch the DStv Diski Challenge assistant coach, said.
He was speaking in an interview with CAJ News Africa.
“We were so looking forward to this weekend’s match in particular as it is our firs festival,” Rhoda added.
Stellies were scheduled to host second-from-bottom Bloemfontein Celtic on Saturday.
They were eager to use the game to showcase their massive potential for the season.
“We have assembled a good, strong and young team. We just wanted to showcase what this group are capable of,” Rhoda said.
The Cape Winelands-based side’s participation in the reserve league has coincided with calamity since their promotion for the 2019/20 season.
Last season’s edition was halted in March following the initial outbreak of the COVID-19.
They were at the time seventh on the log and were on the verge of securing three points at the expense of hosts Mamelodi Sundowns, whose Lucas Masterpices Moripe Stadium pitch was deemed unplayable because of lack of markings.
The points would have pushed Stellenbosch to sixth.
Despite the campaign’s premature end, it proved valuable for the newcomers.
Jayden Adams, Kgomotso Chiwayo, Jamie Craak and goalkeeper Lebohang Nthene were promoted from the league to the senior team.
Meanwhile, Rhoda noted in the midst of a pandemic, saving lives was a priority than the beautiful game.
“In saying that, we understand that there are more important things than football, especially now,” he said.
“If this suspension is as a result of COVID-19 and meant to stop or limit the spread and contraction of the disease, we support the suspension 100 percent,” Rhoda said.
“However that doesn’t take away the disappointment but we will keep working, keep improving and await the resumption of the league if and when it’s going to happen.”
The season is scheduled to conclude on the first weekend of July 2021.
– CAJ News