PRETORIA — Poor attendance remains the biggest challenge facing Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Irvin Khoza and his recently appointed executive committee.
While Khoza has transformed the PSL into a financially flush organisation that is rated among the best in the world, empty seats at some premiership matches continue to give him sleepless nights.
Only Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs attract good crowds to their matches. Tickets to the December 8 Soweto Derby between the two sides are already selling fast.
Sunday’s premiership match between home side SuperSport United and Golden Arrows at Lucas Moripe Stadium, which ended in a 2-2 draw, was another example of the poor attendances in the PSL.
This game was played deep in the heart of Atteridgeville, and yet the locals there went about their business as usual, seemingly oblivious to the fact that a top-flight match was taking place right on their doorstep. But the few who showed up certainly got their money’s worth as United and Arrows delivered a highly entertaining afternoon of football.
Spurred on by a spirited brass band that made up for the minimal numbers in the stands, United took the fight to Arrows from the opening minute and put the KwaZulu-Natal visitors under relentless pressure.
Franklin Cale ran the show for United and was at the centre of every foray into the visitors’ end of the pitch. United’s temperamental striker Mabhuti Khenyeza had the first real chance of the match, but sent his shot over the bar when he seemed to have Arrows goalkeeper Pavels Steinbors at his mercy.
The hosts continued to pile on the pressure and Mor Diouf should have done better when his header sailed over the bar after a Cale corner kick. Arrows had been content to absorb the pressure and try to catch United on the break for most of the opening minutes, and it was very much against the run of play that Sibusiso Hadebe beat goalkeeper Ronwen Williams with a well-taken header in the 22nd minute.
United were not deflated by the setback and continued to pressure the visitors, and Cale was rewarded for his sterling work when he scored the equaliser in the 36th minute.
Arrows have goalkeeper Steinbors to thank for ensuring the sides were still tied at 1-1 by half-time.
Arrows again took advantage of the gaping holes left by men United committed forward and Norman Smith put the visitors in the lead in the 75th minute. But the impressive Cale was not finished and he provided the telling pass that enabled Diouf to equalise for United.
United have now played 10 draws — the most by any team in the league this season — in 12 matches, and coach Gavin Hunt must be frustrated by the number of dropped points.
• In the other game on Sunday, Mamelodi Sundowns won only their second game of the season, beating Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 at Free State Stadium.