Although the Mainland premier league first round offered few surprises, there was one huge surprise in the form of JKT Oljoro’s stellar form.
Even though the usual suspects: Simba, Yanga and Azam ended the round as the top three teams in the league, it was refreshing to see the newly promoted JKT Oljoro hold their own against the leading lights of local football.
Indeed, the outstanding displays of Oljoro arguably seemed to suggest that the quality of football in the first division was of a much higher standard than previously thought.
But as for the three top teams in the league, many were wondering ahead of the season’s kick-off if this would be the season in which Azam would finally come good and fulfill the promise they have shown in recent years.
At the halfway stage though, the ice cream makers are in third place with 23 points, five points off the table toppers Simba who have 28 points. With Yanga sandwiched between Simba and Azam in second place with 27 points, it promises to be a very close three-way race for the title right down to the wire.
For the neutrals though, an outcome which sees Simba or Yanga winning the title, will not make for a great season of local football.
This is because there are a growing number of observers who feel that it is about time that the vice-like grip of the two giants over local football is released.
Indeed, it has almost become routine to crown either Simba or Yanga as champions-in-waiting ahead of each new season, but thankfully, the emergence of Azam has changed the equation a bit.
Still, one could tentatively argue that Simba and Yanga will remain as two of the dominant sides in the league, even if the ice cream makers manage to pull off a surprise and win the title this season.
However, the meteoric rise of Azam and the form of JKT Oljoro ought to encourage those of us who feel that it is high time that the winds of change blew across local football.
Happy Holidays to all sports fans.