JULIAN BETTS (@BettsJulian) returns with a fifth episode of his Round The World In 80 Leagues series. This time, we’re off to South Africa.
Kaizer Chiefs v Bloem Celtic | Wednesday 17:30
Let it never be said that romance is dead. Football seems to throw up more than its fair share of rags to riches stories but even by those high standards it’s hard to recall a more improbable tale than that of a young man from the Diepkloof township in Soweto (walking through town is quite scary, it’s not very sensible either) who grew to become the inspiration behind a world famous indie band from Yorkshire.
Johannesburg based football club, Kaizer Chiefs, was the first employment of South African icon Lucas Radebe who became well known to English fans for his 10 year spell at Elland Road where he grew to become a Leeds United legend.
And so in 2003, towards the end of his glorious career, a group badly in need of reinvention renamed themselves in honour of their beloved captain and the Kaiser Chiefs were born.
They of course went on to receive international acclaim and success whilst the “glamour boys” were winning four Premier Soccer League titles.
Their last lap of honour came just two years ago but last season (too many draws, a league high of 13) saw them parachute down to 5th. Another team with a similar penchant for taking home a point is Bloem Celtic (12 last year).
Hailing from Bloemfontain, literally fountain of flowers, the football club have a rather less illustrious sporting history, living life in the rather large shadow of their more popular and famous rugby counterparts, The Cheetahs, current holders of the Currie Cup.
The city is the judicial capital of South Africa, apt given that being forced to watch their team each week must feel like a life sentence to their passionate fans, Siwelele as they are known.
If goals = entertainment then this poor bunch suffer more than most but stay together they must. As the brilliant author JRR Tolkien (born in Bloemfontain) once wrote “faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens”.
Last season 73% of Celtic’s games finished Under 2.5 Goals, the exact same stat continuing into this year. Due to lack of interest tomorrow has been cancelled.
A third of their away games in 2015/16 ended goalless. I mean seriously off with their heads! If these trends carry on for much longer I predict a riot.
Their hosts are more positive but not by much. So far this year none of their six home games has gone over. The future is medieval and every day I love you less and less.
No surprise that Bloem can match that stat with none of their five away matches troubling the overs line either. At this point I should apologise for the dullness of these figures. I haven’t yet found a way of conveying stats in an interesting way but I am working on it! They are though an important weapon against the bookies – education, education, education and war.
The head to heads follow in similar vein. Only two of their last 13 encounters have seen Over 2.5 Goals and Bloem are scoreless in their past eight visits to the FNB stadium.
To be fair the odds reflect this paucity of action and the 4/11 on Unders holds no attraction. But the lower chance of goals so conversely the higher chance of a stalemate and with both teams continuing their love of the draw into this season (four in six home games for the Chiefs and three in five away for Bloem) the 23/10 on this ending the same way appeals most. I’m convinced this is finishing either 0-0 or 1-1 but really couldn’t say which so if I had a ruby to spend I’d stick to the straight draw.
At the end of the day I can prove anything, you can choose anything.
Kaizer Chiefs v Bloem Celtic – Draw (23/10 William Hill)
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