Every Monday, we comb through the numbers to bring out the Biggest Winners and Losers of the PSL weekend.
Arthur Zwane – Winner
Having finished 18 points behind eventual champions Sundowns, Arthur Zwane was appointed to bridge the gap between Kaizer Chiefs and the champions. No one in their right mind would expect that to happen over the course of one season – this project is destined to take time, money, and the patience of the staunchest of fans. Failure to beat AmaZulu to the MTN8 final was a reminder of how painful the process can be, particularly when your neighbours celebrate getting the very same thing that you craved on the same weekend. Victory in the Soweto derby may not erase the pain of missing out on the first Top 8 final since 2015, but winning your first Soweto derby will go some way in restoring some positivity that may have started to velue him in this process. With a two-month break between the derby and the next league game, Zwane may be forgiven for getting a plaque with the adage “you’re only as good as your last result” printed and plastered on his office wall.
1 – Zwane is the first Kaizer Chiefs coach to win his first Soweto derby since Ernst Middendorp in 2005/06. Zwane played for Chiefs in that game, which was also on the 29th of October (back in 2005).
Kaizer Chiefs – Winner
They are slowly starting to dominate the Soweto derby.
4 – Chiefs have won their fourth successive against Orlando Pirates, the first time either of the teams have won four in a row in the league in PSL history.
Mamelodi Sundowns – Winner
The 2-1 loss to SuperSport at the beginning of September was arguably the lowest point of Sundown’s season (league-wise). But even when that happened, they remained 2nd on the table, one place behind Orlando Pirates. Since that “nadir”, Sundowns have gone back to default settings winning each of the next six games and keeping five clean sheets in the process. Many teams undergo coaching changes because a team has gone on a negative spiral of defeats. But when a team makes coaching changes because of “unconvincing wins”, that alone should ring an alarm. Winning alone seems not to be enough for Chloorkop. But again, we shouldn’t be surprised – this is a Sundowns setup that has normalised the abnormal and made the extraordinary look ordinary over the years. They’ll be top at Christmas for a third consecutive season, and there is an ominous feeling about how the table looks at the moment.
28 – 28 points from 12 games are Sundowns’ second-best total at this stage of a 30-game PSL season (30 points from 12 last season).
Coach Rhulani- Winner
Rhulani Mokwena is the first coach to win his first two league games in charge of Sundowns since Antonio Lopez in September 2010. But, it gets better:
8 – Mokwena’s 8-0 the aggregate win is the joint-best by a Sundowns coach in their first two games since Tovey & Gamondi (5-1 & 4-0 v Black Leopards & Dynamos) in December 2005.
Yusuf Maart & Taking Chances – Winner
Maart scored just 2 goals last season, despite taking the most shots at Sekhukhune. What a hit!! Take a bow son, take a bow.
Cassius Mailula – Winner
Another goal for the youngster, who is slowly making a name for himself.
22 – Mailula (22y 4m 17d) is the youngest player to score in back-to-back league games for Sundowns since Lerato Chabangu in May 2005 (19y 8m 27d).
Gallant’s Home Form – Winner
Marumo Gallants won their first home league game since March 2022, ending a run of 10 consecutive home draws. They are the only team without a home loss in 2022m and given that their 30 December fixture is away, are guaranteed to end 2022 without a home loss.
11 – Gallants are just the 11th side in PSL’s top-flight history to end the calendar year without losing a home game.
This is the full list:
- 2008 Ajax Cape Town
- 2003 Bidvest Wits
- 2006 Bidvest Wits
- 2010 Bloem Celtic
- 1996 Hellenic
- 1996 Kaizer Chiefs
- 2004 Kaizer Chiefs
- 2013 Kaizer Chiefs
- 2019 Orlando Pirates
- 2020 Swallows FC
- 2022 Marumo Gallants
Chippa United – Winner
From 3-1 down, Chippa did well to secure a 3-3 draw.
2 – This was only the second time Chippa came back to secure a point after trailing by 2+ at half-time (also March 2021 v Swallows FC).
Orlando Pirates’ Attack – Loser
Like Arthur Zwane above, Jose Riveiro could hardly have been expected to keep pace with Sundowns in his very first season. Yet, Sundowns’ consistency must not absolve either Orlando Pirates or Jose Riveiro of deserved criticism. For all the work that has been done on the defence (7 goals conceded at this stage is still a joint-best for the club), their attack has been underwhelming. Pirates have won just one of their last five league games and they are fortunate that those directly below them continue to stutter.
9 – Nine goals from 13 is Pirates’ joint-lowest at this stage of a season in PSL history (9 also in 2017/18).
Stellenbosch’s Defence – Loser
Whisper it quietly, but Stellenbosch are having a horrible season. This was the first time they failed to score in back-to-back matches in 2022. Since the 0-0 draw on an opening day, they have kept just one clean sheet.
17 – Only Royal AM (18) have conceded more goals than Stellies (17).
Last season, they conceded 23 in the whole campaign.
SuperSport United – Loser
Their draw with Swallows FC ended a run of three consecutive wins. They have not won four league games in a row since April 2012, under Gavin Hunt.
John Maduka – Loser
Maritzburg United will be bottom of the table at Christmas
14 of the 20 teams bottom at Christmas have been relegated or sent to the playoffs in 30-game PSL history.
The PSL Fixture Schedule – Loser
One can understand halting play during the World Cup tournament itself, but there are still 3 weeks left until the first World Cup game. With so few (if any) SL players involved, another game week or two could have relieved pressure on the 2023 schedule.
Eric Tinkler – Loser
With one win in eight away games now, Eric Tinkler has a huge problem on his hands.