Opta Jabu combs through the numbers to bring out the biggest winners and losers from the mid-week domestic football action, with Mamelodi Sundowns showing no signs of slowing down, having a 100% record in the Dstv Premiership new season so far.
Sundowns Finding New Levels – Winner
10 months ago, Sundowns were top of the Premier League table with 22 points from 10 games. 99% of teams in the division would take a 10-game start that reads W7 D1 L2. In fact, throughout a season that translates to 66 points, enough to win 19 of the 27 PSL titles that have been competed since 1996. Instead, it was at this moment that Sundowns decided there were changes needed to the coaching set-up. To be fair, they had been outfoxed by Orlando Pirates in the MTN8 semi-final. Perhaps management realized that there was another level that the talent in this team was capable of. And so it has proved.
Downs have started the new season in a manner never seen before at the club, with 18 points from 18, and are only the 3rd side in PSL history to win 6/6 to open the season. They are making brilliance normal in a way that could be discouraging for the rest of the league, and intimidating for the rest of the continent. As the winning continues, we have to find new ways to differentiate the winning streaks.
The Kaizer Chiefs 31-game unbeaten record is now in sight (Sundowns are on 30). Yet, even if they do not get there, this 30-game stint has been nothing short of exceptional.
78 – Sundowns have accrued 78 points across their last 30 league matches (W24 D6 L0); a joint-record total for any team across a 30-match spell in PSL history, equalling a 78-point stretch by Sundowns (ending 1999).
Lucas Ribeiro Settling In Well – Winner
Now the scorer of four goals in his first six appearances at Sundowns, the Brazilian is settling in comfortably at, well, the Brazilians. The current top-scorer is the sixth player to score four goals for Mamelodi Sundowns in the opening six games of a PSL league campaign, but the first to do so in his debut season at the club. Others to do so include Katlego Mphela, Themba Zwane, Daniel Mudau, Peter Shalulile, and Themba Mnguni.
Orlando Pirates – Winner
Since the opening-day defeat to Stellenbosch, Orlando Pirates have won five and drawn one of their six encounters across all competitions. They have seven goals in their opening four league games – the last time they had a better goalscoring record at this stage was in 2005 (10 goals under Papic)
Zakhele Lepasa – Winner
Lepasa has now scored nine goals in seven appearances in all competitions this season, more than he managed in his previous 51 appearances at both SuperSport United & Orlando Pirates over four seasons.
AmaZulu – Winner
Three points for Usuthu help them avoid an unwanted record. They would have been the first side in PSL history to blank in all five season-opening games.
Molefi Ntseki – Winner
Back-to-back wins over AmaZulu and Stellenbosch will instill belief in a squad that was lacking in confidence when the season started. It may only be two wins, but you can’t deny that the picture immediately looks rosier for Chiefs’ new gaffer. He will be the first to admit they are far from the finished article, but there are some positives. These same fixtures brought 4 points from 6 for the side last season, 1/6 in 2021/22 and 2020/21, and 3/6 in 2019/20. Hopefully for the Chiefs faithful, that momentum carries them into the weekend.
7 – Seven points from 5 games is Chiefs best return at this stage of the season since 2019/20.
Tshegofatso Mabasa – Winner
Three goals in four league appearances this season, as many as he had in 32 previous league appearances.
Royal AM’s comeback ability – Winner
This was the first time Royal AM came back from a goal down away from home to win a league game (P17 W0 D3 L14 before).
Cape-Based Sides – Loser
The Cape Town Spurs’ struggles have been widely covered, but all Cape sides have hit a snag at present. The Cape has been praised for having three sides in the top flight, but that praise starts to sound hollow when all PSL sides are checking their calendars for when they’ll be traveling to that coast.
9 – Cape sides have lost 10 of their last 11 league games, including each of the last seven by an aggregate score of 15-3.
Cape Town Spurs Still Waiting – Loser
Spurs are the fourth side in PSL history to lose all five of their season-opening games (also 1999 Bush Bucks, 2020 Maritzburg & 2013 Polokwane City). However, none of the three previous sides were relegated.
Stellenbochs And Handicaps – Loser
Stellenbosch have received a red card in each of their last three league fixtures v Kaizer Chiefs. Indeed, their last three red cards have all come in this fixture. They’ve also given away four penalties in that run.