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DStv Premiership Review – Winners And Losers By Opta Jabu

The final round of PSL games before the AFCON break had it all – late goals, penalties, red cards, and comebacks.


The final round of PSL games before the AFCON break had it all – late goals, penalties, red cards, and comebacks. All four of Sundowns, Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, and SuperSport dropped points and Cape Town Spurs’ horror season continued. However, there were big wins for Stellenbosch, Richards Bay, and Cape Town City. Winners & Losers is a statistical review of the weekend that was. Enjoy.


Stellenbosch – Winner

The weird thing about Stellenbosch’s year is that they started 2023 with a nine-game winless run. Three draws and two losses kicked off their year after the World Cup break, while two draws and two losses preceded the tournament in Qatar. Stellies were two points above the relegation zone at the end of January when Cape Town City visited. 2-0 down after 40 minutes, they were headed to the bottom of the table. They had never won a league game when trailing at half-time until then, but miraculously conjured up a 3-2 comeback win. Things have gotten better since then and they remain the only local team to beat Sundowns this year (in the Nedbank Cup).

2023 – The win over Pirates this weekend means in their first win of the year 2023, Stellenbosch came from 2-0 down to win 2-3 (v CT City), and in their last win of the year 2023, Stellenbosch came from 2-0 down to win 2-3 (v Orlando Pirates).

How’s that for symmetry?

Richards Bay’s Fighting Spirit – Winner

Any Richards Bay supporter left deflated by a difficult 2023 will have been re-energized by the comeback win against SuperSport. A tumultuous year reached a new nadir with the departure of coach Kaitano Tembo on Christmas Day. But as Cape Town Spurs continues to struggle, the Rich Boyz will be more confident about avoiding the drop. With just five points between them and 12th place, they could even turn their focus towards avoiding the playoffs.

0 – This was the first time since their promotion that Richards Bay won a league game after conceding the first goal (22 concessions, W0 D3 L19 before this win).

Eric Tinkler – Winner

On 17 September, Cape Town City lost 3-2 to AmaZulu extending their losing run to five consecutive matches. It was the first time that City had lost five consecutive games in all competitions since they became a PSL side in 2016. But Tinkler and his men have been on a revival since then, losing just one of 10 league games played. The most impressive thing is that they have only conceded 4 goals in these 10 games, which has helped them rise to 2nd on the table within touching distance of Sundowns.

Maybe, just maybe, there could be life in the title race.

23 – City have won more games (7) and more points (23) than any other side since mid-September.

Samir Nurkovic And Late Goals – Winner

That’s now four goals for the Serb, with all of them coming late in games – 80th, 93rd, 72nd & 95th minutes. He’s now got more league goals than Phumudzo Manenzhe (20) and as many as Thembinkosi Lorch (21).

AmaZulu – Winner

A comfortable win in the end, and only the 19th time in 27 years of PSL history that they win a league game by a 3+ margin. It’s also a good result for Usuthu, who have struggled in derbies over the last half-decade. Before this, they had won just 3 of their last 24 league derbies. Four in 25 is still not good enough, but it is a step in the right direction.


Orlando Pirates – Loser

Back-to-back league defeats for the Buccaneers for the first time since (almost exactly) a year ago – 30 December 2022 (2nd successive defeat in a run of 3) and 29 December 2023. The nature of the defeat will haunt Jose Riveiro more than the defeat itself – for the first time in PSL history, Pirates lost a home game they led 2-0. The AFCON break probably comes at a good time, and six weeks of strategizing plus a transfer window could be key to improving in the 2nd half of the season.

1 – This is the first time in 24 years that Pirates have lost back-to-back league games despite opening the scoring in both (also v SuperSport and Wits in the festive season of 1999/2000).

Cape Town Spurs – Loser

It is worth looking at Ernst Middendorp’s post-match interactions with the fans to see how broken things seem at Spurs. The draw with AmaZulu last week was one step forward, but this result was two steps back. A stumble and a fall may soon follow unless things change soon.

4 – Four points in 16 games is the joint-worst total for a side in PSL history, level with 1996/97 Witbank Aces, who ended that season bottom of the table.

John Maduka And Royal AM – Loser

John Maduka is now winless against AmaZulu in eight games, losing two and drawing the other six. It’s the longest he has ever gone without a win against a single PSL team. You could consider them his hoodoo team, but his team’s away also provides another reality check.

3 – Royal Am have just three away wins in the last 15 months (P26 W3 D9 L14 since Sept 2022).

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