We saw on the weekend how the ‘Big Three’ had the luxury of being able to introduce substitutes like Benni McCarthy, Kingston Nkhatha and Hlompho Kekana – just some of a multitude of top class players that were on their benches.
But for the smaller and less wealthy clubs, it is difficult to create a squad deep enough in quality to last the course of a season, and players are often forced to play out of position, or have to take to the field when they should be rested, leading to injuries and more problems.
Each time a new hot property appears on the scene, the player is inevitably snapped up by one of the big Gauteng clubs, which in terms of financial clout also includes Bidvest Wits these days.
Those clubs with shallower pockets and less cash to burn are left scratching their heads ahead of the January transfer window.
Unable to buy the best established local players, youth development (like at Ajax Cape Town), or looking further afield to the continent, Europe and even South America are among the only options.
But these days, with ever-improving communications technology such as Youtube and the other social networks, it is even harder for a hidden gem to stay hidden.
A team like Maritzburg United have in the past done well to think out of the box and have bought wisely in Africa, with purchases such as Onismor Bhasera, Rudolf Bester and Mor Diouf.
But having established themselves in the PSL, these players soon head for Gauteng. This means that every time the transfer window opens, there is a dogfight to try and beef up the respective squads.
This could also be the reason that we have seen a fairly large proportion of sub-standard foreigners arriving on our shores.
“It’s difficult to say this [player] is the one,” Maritzburg United coach Ernst Middendorp says when asked about whether he is looking to go into the market next month.
“Where are the top guys, the guys who really give you the quality? The problem for everybody is that you can have a nice wish list, but you are not the only team.
“AmaZulu will look for players, Ajax will look for players. Which pot can we put our finger in?
“It's not only about the transfer fee, you must go into the monthly payments. Some clubs spend a lot on this and we can’t go into competition with them,” Middendorp points out.
It is difficult to see how this issue will ever be resolved. Development is the obvious answer, not just in terms of each individual club, but in the country as a whole, so that there is in general a larger talent pool.
Safa claim to have some big plans underway in this regard, but it would not be advisable to hold one’s breath over that bearing fruition.
A bit more discretion and less greed in the market from the big clubs would also help, but again, don’t hold your breath.
What do you think of the current situation for the smaller clubs? Where do the solutions lie? Is the gap between the ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have-nots’ hurting our football?