Opta Jabu combs through the numbers to bring out the biggest winners and losers from the weekend domestic football action.
Golden Arrows – Winner
One of the most positive aspects of Golden Arrows’ rise is that it has not been founded on the signing of big-name players and big-name coaches. Rather, their rise is built on shrewd additions in the transfer market and improving on what they already had – both on the playing field and in the dugout. The likes of Brandon Theron, Bradley Cross, Lungelo Nguse & Angelo van Rooi came from relegated Maritzburg and lower division Tuks and Hungry Lions. Yet, they have not taken time to blend in and have each repaid the faith placed in them with consistent performances so far.
In an age where co-coaching arrangements looked like they were becoming the norm, Arrows did the opposite – breaking up an arrangement some feared would leave Mabhuti Khanyeza’s inexperience exposed. 10 points from 12 since Vusumuzi Vilakazi left and progress to the Carling Cup quarter-finals is a dream start for Khanyeza, who is slowly becoming the neutrals’ favourite. They may not have enough in the tank to push Sundowns all the way, but an exciting team under a young manager playing good football with belief is what makes them loveable. 20 points from nine games is now officially Arrows’ best-ever start at this stage of a season in PSL history, surpassing a 19-point haul in 2008/09. This stat is another sign of how far they have come:
2015 – This is the first time Golden Arrows have won four in a row in all competitions since a 6-game run eight years ago (in February 2015). They were in the Division 1 then.
Knox Mutizwa – Winner
Those two pieces of predatory finishing are scored by a player who always comes into this fixture with supreme confidence. It’s as if Mutizwa was born to play against Kaizer Chiefs. It was only in February that he scored a second-half brace against them. And here he’s done it again. That makes him only the second player in PSL history to score a brace in back-to-back league games against Kaizer Chiefs. You have to go back 25 years from the last time an opponent did that – Ian Gorowa for Cape Town Spurs in the 1997/98 season.
Altogether these were his 5th and 6th goals vs Kaizer Chiefs in the league, his joint-most vs a single opponent (6 also v Maritzburg). In fact, only Bradley Grobler (7) has scored more goals vs Chiefs than Mutizwa in the history of the competition. He is already Arrows’ top goalscorer of all time but is now one shy of reaching 60 goals for the club, which is a handsome total in a division not known for goals.
59 – Mutizwa is Golden Arrows’ leading scorer, and extended his total to 59 goals this past weekend.
Nduduzo Sibiya – Winner
Another game, another assist. His fourth of the season, making him the outright leader for assists in the league this season. Indeed, all four of his assists have been to four different players.
Cape Town City – Winner
Three wins in a row in the league soften the blow of the early Cup exit. With Chippa & Royal AM their next guests, City could be in the CAF places by the end of next week.
The other City (Polokwane City) – Winner
Lehlohonolo Seema was supposed to be engineering a survival bid, but he has got his team playing like Roberto de Zerbi’s Brighton. A deserved point against a complacent Orlando Pirates, and the first time they come back to secure a point after trailing this season.
TS Galaxy – Winner
Two goals in a game for the first time this season, and these were not just ordinary goals. Kamogelo Sebelebele’s solo run and strike were already impressive, but Samir Nurkovic’s effort will probably be a Goal of the Season contender.
Orlando Pirates – Loser
The last 10 league games since 3 May have seen Orlando Pirates drop more points (16) than they have won (14). They may not be out of the title race as yet, but one thing is certain: they are heading in the wrong direction. Jose Riveiro’s was less confident of a title race after this game than he was before, and that just goes to show how crucial a result this may have been to their hopes of challenging Sundowns. The 15-point gap to Sundowns looks worse when you consider that they are running out of games in hand (now just 1). On any other night, Pirates would have scored three or four goals – but their attackers were not in clinical form. Sadly, that is becoming the story of not only Pirates’ season but their decade without a title. 18 shots in this game was their most in a game since the opening day defeat to Stellenbosch, but it didn’t matter in the end.
1 – Only once before in PSL history have Orlando Pirates picked up fewer points after seven games of the season than the nine they have this season (5 from 7 in 2015/16).
Chippa United – Loser
Chippa were the only team not to receive a red card last season. They received 2 red cards in one half against AmaZulu.
Richards Bay – Loser
That’s 17 league losses since the start of 2023. Richards Bay may soon be chasing another unwanted record.
21 – The record for most games lost in a year is 21 (1997-Qwa Qwa Stars, 1997-AmaZulu & 2011-Golden Arrows)