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DStv Premiership Review – Winners And Losers By Opta Jabu

The Christmas weekend featured a near full round of PSL action, as most teams played their penultimate games of 2023.

Gavin Hunt

The Christmas weekend featured a near full round of PSL action, as most teams played their penultimate games of 2023. Sekhukhune v Stellenbosch was postponed, but the other 14 teams squared up, giving fans some festive cheer. As usual, we dug through the numbers to bring you Christmas Winners and losers.


Gavin Hunt – Winner

This was half victory, half vindication for Gavin Hunt. The SuperSport coach was heavily criticized following a club record run of five consecutive defeats across all competitions in recent weeks. With over 900 games under his name, Hunt remains a stalwart of the local game. And some of the sentiment in the criticism questioned whether the game had moved on past coaches from yesteryear. There are shinier, newer toys in the coaching market, some obtained from faraway lands. On Saturday, Hunt came across one of those newer coaches, but one who has already made a mark in the local game just 18 months into the job. The response to perceived doubts from Gavin Hunt was emphatic. Sundowns may be too far out of sight for both Sundowns and Pirates (although we still have half a season to go), but Hunt has ensured his side is best placed to take advantage of any slip-ups in the second half of the season.

29 – SuperSport United have won 29 points in their 15 league games this season, their best return at the halfway stage of a campaign since 2009/10 (30 points also under Gavin Hunt).

SuperSport And Comebacks – Winner

Key to SuperSport’s form this season has been their ability to fight back from losing positions. United have won 15 points after falling behind in the league this season, more than any other side. For context, last season the team that won the most points from losing positions was AmaZulu, and they only won 14 points in the whole campaign. For more context, SuperSport themselves only won three points from losing positions last season.

1 – This is the first time under Gavin Hunt (both spells) that SuperSport have won back-to-back games after conceding the first goal.

Cavin Johnson – Winner

A third consecutive league win for Chiefs and the first time they won three in a row by 1-0 in over 20 years. Some have been unconvinced by the close nature of the wins, yearning for more comfortable 2-0 and 3-0 scorelines. But that longing ignores how difficult it is to control games at 1-0 and hold out for maximum points. This is a part of the game that may come in handy in the second half of the season and may particularly be good for a deep Cup run. The coach was full of praise for his entire backroom staff in the post-match interviews. And if they can get that 4th straight win this coming weekend, Johnson and his staff can breathe during the January break.

2003/4 – You have to go back to the 2003/4 title-winning season under Ted Dumitru to find Chiefs winning three consecutive games by a 1-0 scoreline.

TS Galaxy Finally Getting An Away Result – Winner

Against Golden Arrows, TS Galaxy won their first away league game this season (P6 W0 D1 L5 before today), while these were also the first league goals for The Rockets away from home.

Eric Tinkler – Winner

If there is one coach who seems to have figured out how to stop the Rulani Mokwena train, it is Eric Tinkler. The two coaches have played twice, with both games ending 0-0. Downs have failed to score just three times in the league since August 2022, with two of those instances coming against Tinkler. He may have the blueprint for other teams to use against the champions in the second half of the season.

16/17 – Under Rulani Mokwena, Cape Town City are the only side that Sundowns have neither won nor scored against.

Shandre Campbell – Winner

“He’s got great attributes, he’s got goals in him — he was the top scorer last season in the Diski,” – Gavin Hunt on Shandre Campbell.

The youngster is one of 11 Diski Team players who have been given debutants for the first teams this season. If there is a club where young talent can be given a chance to thrive, SuperSport is one.


Golden Arrows – Loser

Lest we forget, Arrows are one of four teams to top the table this season, including SuperSport, Cape Town City, and Sundowns. Mabhuti Khanyeza embarked on an unbeaten run when he was given full reign at Golden Arrows at the start of September. 10 points from a possible 12 in his first four games saw his team gradually climb up the table. By the end of October, Arrows were in second place, just four points behind Sundowns. Since then, Arrows have slid down, picking up the fewest points of any team.

7 – Arrows have lost seven consecutive games in all competitions for the first time since 2014 (also a seven-game losing run ending April 2014).

Cape Town Spurs And Dropping Points – Loser

It is not news that Spurs are having a difficult season. One win at the halfway stage of the season, 13 losses in 15, and 31 goals conceded tell a story. But the most damning aspect of their time in the top-flight so far has to be their inability to protect leads. If Spurs had held on for three points in all matches where they took the lead, they would be on a healthier 15 points at the halfway stage of the season. Against AmaZulu, they once again conceded a late goal and dropped more points.

4 – Spurs have four points after 15 games, the lowest points total by a PSL side at the halfway stage of a season.

Richards Bay – Loser

They could have been on the Losers list for many other reasons, including firing a coach (or announcing it) on Christmas Day. but they are here for football reasons alone. Richards Bay have now won just one of the 15 away games they have played since January (P15 W1 D4 L10 in all competitions). Kaitano Tembo may have departed, but the rot has been here for a while.

20 – No team has lost as many league games in 2023 as Richards Bay (20).

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