Every Monday, we comb through the numbers to bring out the Biggest Winners and Losers of the PSL weekend.
Chippa United – Winner
There are many who accuse Chippa Mpengesi of being trigger happy when it comes to firing underperforming coaches. But at times you have to stand up and applaud the kind of ruthless decisions when they turn out to solve the team’s problems. When Daine Klate was relieved of his duties just over a month ago, public reaction was overwhelmingly in his favour. Some even went to the extent of wishing relegation on Chippa. But post-Klate, Chippa have found a stern resolve that has steadied a ship better known for rocking than forever being stable. Not only have Chippa won three games in a row for the first time in six years, but they’ve also won as many games in five weeks as they managed in the first nine months of the year (a stretch of 21 games). Mamilla is the first ever coach to start his tenure at the club with three consecutive wins. With a home game against a struggling Sekhukhune next, he could become the first-ever Chippa coach to win four in a row at any stage in their spell.
What was particularly impressive about this result was witnessing the rare occasion of Chippa coming from behind on the road. You have to go back to May 2013 for the only other occasion when Chippa were trailing at half-time away from home and came back to win the game (v AmaZulu then). And while that was a rarity, beating Chiefs seems like a common feature for this team.
7 – Chippa have now won seven league games against Kaizer Chiefs. Only against AmaZulu (8) have they won more in the top flight.
Richards Bay’s Defence – Winner
Their results have won hearts this season, but their approaches are yet to win many minds. As a newly promoted side still adjusting to life in the top-flight, clean sheets would be the gold prize for any team. Anything that comes after that is a bonus. Our recent praise has been about their defensive nous being the best of any newly promoted side, but they are slowly entering the territory of the best defence in PSL history overall. This is the fourth-best clean sheet start in PSL history (8 clean sheets in 11). Only three teams (2003/04 Chiefs, 2003/04 Wits & 2021/22 Sundowns) have kept more at this stage. When you consider the number of goals conceded, the Rich Boyz are equally impressive:
3 – Only three teams in PSL history have conceded less goals at this stage of a top-flight season .
PSL Sides Against Seychelles Sides – Winner
20 – Across 20 games between South Africa and Seychelles teams, PSL sides have won 19 times, by an aggregate score of 85-12.
Veli Mothwa- Winner
A winner not just because he saved a penalty against Orlando Pirates, but for the fact that he did that after conceding an own goal. Again. Mothwa became the first ever player in AmaZulu’s PSL top-flight history to score an own goal in back-to-back league matches. To still have the confidence to save a spot-kick later (and make numerous other saves) takes some doing.
A first point away at Pirates in five years – they’d lost on each of their last four visits. Folzball?
Mamelodi Sundowns – Winner
Winners without even kicking a ball (in the league at least). Downs remained top even without playing, as four of their five nearest rivals played and dropped points.
Orlando Pirates – Loser
Whatever opinion you may hold of Jose Riviero, the fact remains that he will be judged by results. While Pirates performances have improved of late, the results haven’t matched the aesthetics. Good performances will win you praise in the short term, but results are what coaches will be remembered for. They aren’t looking good now. Of course, this could all change this weekend should they progress in the MTN8 semis.
Before this weekend, the Spaniard ranked joint-4th in the first ten games of these recent Pirates coaches, along with Vladimir Vermezovic.
It’s not exactly a disastrous start, but Pirates will expect better over the next 10 games. The issue of goals reared its ugly head again, in particular second-half-goals. Pirates have not scored a 2nd-half goal in any of their 11 league matches this season, equalling the longest run of matches without a goal after the break by any team from the start of a PSL season. They are on a run of 13 now including last season.
7 – Pirates have scored just seven goals in the first 11 games of the season, their lowest total at this stage of a season in PSL history (the previous lowest was 8 in 2017/18)
Kaizer Chiefs – Loser
At half-time, we rushed to share that Chiefs had lost just one of the last 53 games when leading at half-time (W37 D15 L1 since Jan 2016). That quickly became two after this tie.
Maritzburg United – Loser
178 – Maritzburg United have failed to win any of their last 18 away league games (D8 L10 since September last year), the longest such run for the club in its PSL top-flight history.
For those who love counting, it’s been 400 days since their last away win.