It is difficult to start anywhere else after witnessing an interesting end to the 2012-2013 TNM Super League season on Sunday. Of course, it was not as dramatic as the last-day roller-coaster ride of the 2011-12 English Premier League season, but it was fascinating nonetheless to see two teams going into the final day hoping to finish it as the new champions.
Of course, in truth, one team started the day with genuine belief while the other lived in hope at most. As I said in my last entry, it was difficult to have eventual champions Silver Strikers fully motivated for their final game when they knew they would still be champions even with a loss. No wonder, it took them a whole half hour to turn up at Civo Stadium and play the football that took them to the summit of the league.
The season may have ended at an anti-climax as they went down 0-1 to Mighty Wanderers on their crowning day, but the job had already been done and their visitors actually needed the three points more, particularly after falling unexpectedly the previous day. You could, therefore, argue that the Bankers did not want to be greedy and wanted to share a bit of their glory with their guests.
So, there would never be denying Silver their glory. They are deserved champions of Malawi despite the embarrassing efforts of their detractors to pour cold water on their achievement. Over the course of the season, they have earned the right to defend their crown. That is why I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to Franco Ndawa and his charges on their triumph.
Inevitably, the inquest will now start on several incidents that made the season lose some of its lustre. You had, for example, sporadic incidents of violence, accusations and counter-accusations of match-fixing and controversies regarding the fixing of matches which affected the length of the season. One hopes there will be strategic actions to bring incidents like these to the absolute minimum.
In England, the biggest fixture this weekend is tomorrow’s North London derby at the White Hart Lane as the battle for Champions League slots intensifies. It is not always the case that Tottenham Hotspur go into this tie as slight favourites, but such is the form of Andre Villas-Boas’s men, especially that of Gareth Bale, that one is tempted to expect the home side to prevail over their more decorated neighbours.
It is often said that in derbies form counts for nothing, but there is no doubt which side will be going into tomorrow’s game with a spring in their step. Undefeated in the league since the turn of the year, Spurs should fancy their chances against the Arsenal who have been consistent of late. In Bale, who has scored more goals than anyone else in the league since Christmas, the hosts have a man in such top form the Gunners should be scared of.
But given their inconsistency, Arsene Wenger’s men cannot be completely ruled out. This may be the Frenchman’s poorest season so far, but there are few better teams to watch when the Gunners turn on the style and if they turn up tomorrow, we could be in for a real football treat which is the least any unattached, not necessarily neutral, fan can hope for.
In Spain, it is part two of this week’s El Classico double showing at the Nou Camp tonight. Real Madrid were completely dominant on Tuesday and thoroughly deserved their win. Barcelona need to show us what they are really made of.