Stellenbosch – Winner
If you needed more evidence that Stellenbosch is headed in the right direction, then the late victory over Cape Town City is another page in that file. Whatever league position they end up finding themselves in, 47 points is a mammoth effort from Steve Barker’s men. When you consider that at the same stage last season, they came into the final game facing the danger of relegation, the improvement becomes even clearer. It’s 11 points more than they’ve ever managed in a top-flight season, but the icing on the cake is victory over their neighbours.
Their season progress is not simply a measure of points, but one of the big performances against big sides from a relatively young squad. They’ve completed a league double over City (2nd), Chiefs (4th), and even beat Sundowns (1st) once. Their biggest wins of the season (both 3-0) also came against the teams that are currently 1st and 2nd on the table.
3 – Stellies completed more doubles this season (3) than they did in the previous two seasons combined (2).
Granwald Scott & Longevity- Winner
The Stellenbosch winner also came from an unlikely source, with Grandwald Scott scoring his first goal of the season in the last five minutes of the campaign. It came 15 years after he scored his first top-flight goal for Ajax back in April 2007.
Dylan Kerr & Escapology – Winner
A chronological history of Dylan Kerr makes interesting reading:
2018/19 – helps Leopards avoid relegation after joining them in last place.
2019/20 – helps Baroka avoid relegation after joining them in last place.
2020/21 – helps TTM avoid relegation after joining them in 15th place.
2021/22 – helps Swallows FC avoid direct relegation after joining them in last place.
Ernst Middendorp & Escapology – Winner
They always make it hard for themselves, but once again Maritzburg are safely in the top-flight for another season. Coming into this game, they had never won a home game played on the last day of the season (D2 L4), with Middendorp at the helm on three past occasions. This was a welcome first for the German coach.
Baroka – Loser
Baroka’s top-flight adventure has veered between both highs and lows, and also between terrific and terrible form. The 2019 Nedbank Cup final victory over Pirates will always be high, while denying Chiefs the title in 2020 will also be fondly remembered, depending on which team you support. Their relegation is a definite low, but it would be amiss to say it is unexpected – the truth is that it has been coming.
Only two teams in 30-game PSL history have avoided relegation having lost 17 games in a season, but even those teams won 10 and 9 games respectively. Baroka only won six.
Their misery was compounded by the defeat to relegation rivals Swallows in April despite taking a 2-0 lead, but they still would have avoided relegation with a win on the final day. Instead, they lost to Maritzburg, bowing out of the top flight with a whimper. They are just the seventh team in PSL top-flight history to go through an entire campaign without an away win (W0 D3 L12). Their away form has been near disastrous.
3 – Only Mother City (0 points in 1999/00) have ended a top-flight season with fewer points away from home than the three points Baroka collected on the road this season (D3).
Kaizer Chiefs – Loser
Given the other results, a win on Saturday would have put Chiefs in the 2nd spot before the last catch-up matches. It may not matter much in the end, because Royal AM and Pirates still have games to play, but may be seen as a wasted opportunity comes next week.
Cape Town City – Loser
Not a good way to end a memorable season. A win on Saturday would have given City some breathing room in the race for CAF positions. As it stands, Royal AM & Pirates can still overtake them into 4th.
13 – Until Saturday, City went unbeaten for 13 matches, their longest such run in the PSL.
PSL & Scheduling Fixtures – Loser
A season finale with so many fates to be decided deserves a Super Saturday or Sunday. To have two teams fighting for 8th place play on different days gives an unfair advantage to the team playing later. Moving the Nedbank Cup final to 21 May, and having Pirates play catchup on 23 May and 26 May could have allowed a reschedule of Gameweek 30 to 29 May.