A real silly season

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Marc Pozzo

Well there was certainly not much to cheer about, as we said farewell to 2018. Fuel queues and no fuel, no soft drinks, no local beer, exorbitant prices in the shops; in fact, crazy prices. Doctors on strike and civil servants wanting to be paid in United States dollars. Bus and commuter operators, hiking prices when transport is in demand. Oh and the litter from the fuel queues is another irritating issue I can’t go without commenting on. Just as the President announced a clean-up day every month, which is what we need, people still have no concern where they dispose of their litter. It’s a disgrace and a shame people want to live in a litter filtrated country.

But going back to these retail outlets over December; it really annoys me, that some shops actually had the audacity to increase goods at such prices. Do they think people are really that naive and stupid? As I took some well-deserved time off in “Romania” (that means I stayed in H Town!!!), I looked at people, of all walks of life around me, and they all looked tired. Old, really down and physically drained with life in Zimbabwe.

Where in the world can you not buy a Coca -Cola? Well simple answer. Zimbabwe? I know, we have been through serious rough times in Zimbabwe, but at the end of the day, you have also been able to buy a Coke, whenever you wanted, even in the rough times of hyperinflation back in 2008. Well, that was until December 2018. I don’t blame the manufacturers, as they like many, require foreign currency for inputs to ensure products are on the shelf, at an affordable price. They have tried to engage the RBZ. In my business – a manufacturing entity – they (the RBZ) can’t even respond to an email, phone call requesting for a meeting. So what hope have we got going anywhere in business in Zimbabwe? A basket case country is really what we have become! I am actually embarrassed, to be a Zimbabwean at the moment, to be brutally honest. It actually pains me to see what’s happened to our wonderful country. Twelve months ago we thought it had all changed, for the better, finally.

Away from this depression, another depression hit my living room and extended my New Year hang over. Manchester City reignited their Premier League title challenge with a crucial 2-1 win over leaders Liverpool.

Leroy Sane’s superb second half strike handed Liverpool its first league defeat this season and moved the champions to within four points of Jurgen Klopp’s side in a game I will clearly protest that City should have had their skipper Vincent Kompany sent off for a lethal challenge on Mo Salah.

A real silly season The City skipper who I admire as a player described it as “as a great challenge”. I am very clear, like Klopp, it deserved a red card. A game changer I would have thought. A season that started with Leroy Sane’s future at City in doubt is no longer a tale of woe for the German winger, who underlined his vast potential with the blistering winner that kept the champions’ title hope Sane’s ninth goal for City this season came after he also played an important role in unhinging Liverpool’s defence in the build-up to Sergio Aguero’s opener.

Despite dominating the early stages, City were just 1,12cm away from suffering a potentially gamechanging self-inflicted wound as John Stones atoned for his mistake in dramatic fashion.

With City backing off too far as Liverpool launched their first serious attack, Salah had time to pick his pass to Sadio Mane, whose shot hit the inside of the post.

City’s Stones reacted with a panicked clearance against Ederson and the ball cannoned off the goalkeeper towards his own net.

It looked certain to be a farcical own goal, but Stones scrambled back to hook clear of the approaching Salah.

Liverpool claimed it had gone in and so did I profess to my wife it was a goal, but goal-line technology showed that a tiny portion of the ball, just 1,12cm according to Premier League statistics – hadn’t crossed the line, meaning the decision to play on was correct. Sergio Aguero has feasted on Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium and once again the Reds had no answer to City’s lethal finisher.

Aguero’s 40th minute opener extended his streak of having scored in all seven of his home league games against Liverpool.

Showing sublime control with his first touch, Aguero smashed a superb shot past Alisson into the roof of the net from the tightest of angles.

And the Reds arrived at the Etihad boasting a nine-game winning run in the league and knowing a victory would put them well clear at the top while likely killing off City’s challenge.

But Liverpool, who were last crowned champions in 1990, are haunted by the ghosts of the past when Steven Gerrard’s slip let City steal the title from them and once again they were punished for failing to seize the moment.

It is too early to know whether this rather patchy display will prove as costly, yet Liverpool head back nursing a new year’s hangover that make take a while to clear. Anyway we have some to reflect with a break from the Premiership as we focus on the FA Cup.

Three vital points will be required when we travel to face Brighton on Saturday as Liverpool need to focus on winning their first premier league title after going out to Wolves midweek in the FA Cup. Why Klopp insists the FA Cup is not a prestigious competition as he makes nine changes? Let’s hope it does not come back to haunt him come May.