09 September 2019, by: Laduma Analytics

LADUMA ANALYTICS: PSL SQUAD REVIEW PART TWO

Part One in this series of articles looked at the squad profiles of Gauteng based teams Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits, including their transfer activity using a visualization graphic known as an age-utility matrix. In this second piece, we look at another four clubs, including one each from Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Free State provinces.

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Cape Town City FC

The Citizens have impressed in their first three seasons in the Premier League, with league finishes of 3rd, 5th and 4th since they were (re)formed in 2016. They even outscored all PSL teams last term, bagging 47 goals, which itself is impressive given that since 2013, Sundowns are the only side to have scored more than 47 goals in a PSL season (four times).

A side of Cape Town City’s ambition will be looking to aim higher, and maybe go for the title, or at least qualify for the African Champions League. The matrix below breaks down their squad:

Coach Benni McCarthy did not make too many signings, but there were notable departures on either end of the age spectrum. 36-year old Teko Modise hung up his boots, while 20-year-old promising forward Gift Links, who played in more than 50% of the time available, secured a dream move to Europe, joining Aarhus GF in the Danish top flight. Patosi returned to the Middle East where he had gone mid-season, while Mngonyama joined Maritzburg.

In came Mobara and 33-year old Makola from Pirates. These are experienced players with almost 25 000 career league minutes between them, but they hardly featured last season, with less than 1000 minutes between both. One wonders whether Benni has brought in enough players to fill in the gaps left by the Modise and Links departures.

Supersport United

While neighbours Sundowns are chasing a third successive title, Supersport will need no reminding that they were the last team to achieve this feat between 2007/8 and 2009/10. Since that hat-trick of titles almost a decade ago, Supersport have slowly gone back towards mid-table.

Their average league position (6th) and average point total (44) since then belies their status as one of the four ever-present clubs in the top-flight since 1996. Only once since then have they gone past the 50 point mark, and that should be a minimum target for them.

Having spent a combined twelve years at Supersport, Gould, Phala and Letsholonyane left the Pretoria giants for other teams, with the former two’s destinations confirmed earlier than Letsholonyane’s. These are older players that did not feature heavily last season, so their departure may not be felt as much. Contrast that to Macuphu, Keene and Ntshangase who were trusted with minutes by coach Kaitano Tembo, but have now also left.

Yet, in Mahachi, Ravhuhali, Qalinge and possibly Gabuza, the Zimbabwean-born coach is armed with experienced players who all have some points to prove in their own careers. Harnessing that energy could be key to breaking back into the Top 4, and breaching the 50 point mark.

Maritzburg United

The Team of Choice surprised many people two seasons ago winning their highest points tally since regaining promotion to the top-flight in 2008 (44 points). However, they went one further last season, and won just 27 points – their lowest ever total since 2008, and only a miraculous run towards the last few months of the season saw them escape direct relegation.

Tinkler’s men won more games (5) than any other coach outside teams that finished in the Top 3 from February onwards, then cruised through the playoffs to retain their top-flight status.

They will be looking for a smoother ride this season though, having recruited experienced players like Jeremy Brockie and Thamsanqa Sangweni, and younger players who featured heavily last season like Yusuf Jappie and Phumlani Ntshangase. The loss of the trusted Makaringe, Ndlovu and Onyango could prove to be a big factor, however.

Bloemfontein Celtic

The last team we look at is Bloemfontein Celtic. Despite off-field trouble, Siwelele ended last season on 40 points, their best return in a league season in five seasons. A more stable environment could see them finish even higher this time, and a lot of trust will be placed on the captain Mabena, Phalane and other experienced players. Goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb is their oldest departure, and also the player who played the most minutes last season (2340).

According to age and minutes data we sourced from transfermarkt, Celtic gave more minutes (7029) to players under the age of 23 than any other PSL team last season, except Baroka (8020). Perhaps, this mix of experience and youth could help Siwelele will remain in the Top 8 for another season, having missed out on a Top 8 finish in all of the prior three seasons.

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