Opta Jabu combs through the numbers to bring out the biggest Winners and Losers of the PSL weekend.
Brandon Truter’s New Manager Bounce
Excluding newly-promoted teams, only Steve Barker (Stellenbosch) and Sead Ramovic (TS Galaxy) remain in the same position they were at the start of last season. The merry-go-round of PSL coaches between clubs often leads us to miss the moments when change results in genuine improvements. The new-manager bounce may or may not be a thing, but coaches deserve credit, especially where their changes may save their teams’ seasons. Earlier in the season, Morgan Mammila received due praise for steering Chippa to four straight wins – a first in the club’s history. At the moment, two such coaches stand out – Brandon Truter & Fadlu Davids. They lead the Winners section today, because of the incredible work done to get their teams out of the precarious league positions.
During the World Cup break (when they were appointed), the two teams occupied the relegation and playoff positions with the same number of points (11). Since then, Sekhukhune have taken 13 points from a possible 15 including four clean sheets and an impressive away win over Kaizer Chiefs. They are now in 5th position, just five points off the CAF places.
13 – Only Sundowns (18) have won more points than Sekhukhune since Brandon Truter joined (13).
Fadlu Davids’ New Manager Bounce – Winner
“I understand the club well, and that will make it easy for my technical team and the players to hit the ground running (in the second half of the season).”
Speaking when he joined Maritzburg, Fadlu Davids was quick to point out how his history with the club provided him an advantage. But that can not be taken for granted. Nine out of twelve points later, Maritzburg are out of the relegation zone and based on current evidence they may not be coming back. Having been released by Orlando Pirates last year, Davids knows he has a point (or points) to prove, and the Maritzburg job has been a chance to show his own aptitude. At the moment, it is fair to say he’s convinced many after just a month in the job.
3 – Maritzburg have won three consecutive games for the first time since March 2020 (pre-lockdown).
Orlando Pirates – Winner
They needed this. Not just a win that sees them secure back-to-back wins for the first time this season. But they needed a resounding win that can show their fans and the rest of the league what they are capable of. More importantly, Jose Riveiro will be happy that the team also gets that reminder. Since beating Sundowns in the MTN8 semis, Pirates had suffered a bit of a hangover league-wise, picking up three points from a possible 12. This was welcome.
Sundowns’ Defence – Winner
Sundowns have not been exactly Mourinho-Chelsea in the games against Chiefs and SuperSport this past week. Even Rulani Mokwena lamented the openness of the last game, but in both cases, the first-half goal proved enough. The saying goes: “Goals win you games, defences win you titles…”
4 – Moeneeb Josephs needs four clean sheets in the final 12 games to equal the PSL record by a keeper in a PSL season (Orlando Pirates’ Moeneeb Josephs 2009/10, 17).
Sundowns Record Breakersy – Winner
Another week, another record, but this one is worth repeating. They have stuttered a bit in the last two games of that run, but it only shows how monumental an effort this has been.
12 – Sundowns have set a new PSL record of 12 consecutive league wins.
Sede Dion Junior – Winner
Back-to-back goals for the Ivorian. He’s now scored as many goals for AmaZulu (2) in two weeks and three games since he joined, as he did for Marumo Gallants in two months and nine matches.
Richards Bay Safety – Winner
Had they scored the late penalty and won, Richards Bay would be the team with the most points away from home in the league. But they left Pretoria with their 30th point of the season, effectively securing another top-flight season after just 17 games.
30 – In PSL history, no newly promoted side has reached the 30 points mark faster than Richards Bay (2020/21 Swallows also 17 games).
Cape Town City Clean Sheets – Winner
9 – Cape Town City kept a clean sheet for the first time in nine league games, ending their longest streak of matches without a clean sheet under Eric Tinkler (both spells).
They may not be in full brown disaster, but Stellies are definitely the crisis club of the moment. This nine-game winless run isn’t even their longest in the division, but it may lead them into a similar relegation battle as the 12-game winless run in 2021. They don’t want that. Multiple injuries to experienced players may have forced many teams to dip into the transfer market (it’s still open!!). But, Steve Barker’s has bravely turned to youngsters within the club to plug the gaps. It has taken a leap of faith, but the league table will not reflect these brave choices – only results on the board.
He’s the longest-serving current PSL coach for a reason and will be trusted to figure a way out. But first, they need to find the tactics that can give them some clean sheets, and shore up the league’s joint-worst defence. Since the opening 0-0 draw of the season, the only two opponents who have failed to score against Stellies are TS Galaxy (league’s lowest scorers) & Maritzburg (2nd lowest).
24 – Stellenbosch have conceded 24 goals in the league this season, which is one more than they conceded throughout all of last season (23).
Kaizer Chiefs Blunt Attack – Loser
With Keagan Dolly back in the lineup and Ashley du Preez having one of his best games of the season, Chiefs created enough chances to score against Sundowns. But a combination of wayward shots and mistimed final passes did not help their cause. The last time Sundowns lost a game they led at the break was against Chiefs in April 2021, but that was a clinical Chiefs that took the few chances that came their way. One shot on target is Chiefs’ lowest in a league game this season, and less than they managed in the 4-0 drubbing during the reverse fixture.
1 – Chiefs have failed to score in the first three games of a New Year for the first time in PSL history.
Penalty Takers – Loser
Of the 32 penalties awarded this season, 14 have been missed, a conversion rate of 56%. Throughout last season twice as many were awarded (64), with only three more missed (17).
SuperSport – Loser
It’s now three games without a win. After their club record 10 consecutive games scoring the first goal, SuperSport have conceded the first goal in each of their last three matches.