The Premier Soccer League, PSL on Thursday caved in to pressure and cancelled seven more matches to afford players and club officials the chance to attend the funeral of goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa.
Following the news that the Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana captain had been killed on Sunday, the PSL postponed the Soweto derby between the Buccaneers and rivals Kaizer Chiefs, which was scheduled to take place on Saturday afternoon at FNB Stadium. But Meyiwa’s former teammates and coaches as well as the national team requested, through the media and social networks, that all this weekend’s fixtures be postponed.
On Thursday, PSL CEO Brand de Villiers said the postponement was the sensible thing to do. “It was not because of any pressure.
“The executive committee met here in Johannesburg and after discussions between the league, title sponsors Absa, the broadcast partners and other relevant stakeholders … we decided it was best to cancel the matches. We never received any formal requests or letters from anyone asking us to call off the games.”
De Villiers said only the derby would probably be rescheduled on a weekend, while the other fixtures would have to be played midweek. “We don’t have any open weekends, just maybe two midweek slots for these other games.”
Meyiwa will be buried Saturday in Durban, his home town. The funeral service will take place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane, whose side was scheduled to host Free State Stars at the Lucas Moripe Stadium Saturday night, welcomed the decision to postpone all games. “My opinion is that we are all still reeling and mourning.”
Wits coach Gavin Hunt backed his Downs counterpart after he, too, was spared a trip to the Free State to take on Bloemfontein Celtic on Sunday. “I think it’s a good thing and the right thing to do.”
Meanwhile, Belgian club KV Oostende has given Bafana star Andile Jali, who played alongside Meyiwa at Pirates between 2009 and January this year, compassionate leave. The midfielder will be unavailable for their league clash against Waasland-Beveren Saturday as he will be in SA to attend his former teammate’s funeral.