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PSL Half-term Report: Part 2 Of 4

The PSL reached its halfway mark this past weekend, with the 120th game played on Saturday.

Kaizer Chiefs

The PSL reached its halfway mark this past weekend, with the 120th game played on Saturday. With the Africa Cup of Nations approaching, teams will have an elongated break before they are next in action in domestic competition. We’ve crunched some numbers on the season so far, to bring you a half-term report for each team in a four-part series in alphabetical order. Part 2 features Golden Arrows, Kaizer Chiefs, Polokwane City, and Richards Bay. Enjoy.

Golden Arrows

Position: 10th

Top scorer in all comps: Lungelo Nguse (4 goals)  

The postponement/cancellation of their last game of the year (v Swallows) may have been greeted with glee in some quarters – such has been the abject nature of their results recently. Arrows are on a six-game losing run in the league, the worst streak of any team currently. In all competitions, that goes to seven games – their worst such run in almost 10 years (also had a seven-game losing run ending in April 2014). But go back just a few weeks, and you will find a wholly different world. Mabhudi Khenyeza had won his first Coach of the Month award (for September/October), and with 20 points from 9 games, Arrows were enjoying their best-ever start at this stage of a season in PSL history. They remain one of three teams excluding Sundowns that have topped the table at some points this season. Arrows will welcome the six-week break the most and hope to regroup for the second half of the campaign. Once again, safety is secured – but they will be aiming higher.

14 – Arrows have 20 points from 15 games. The lowest any team has finished with 20 points at the halfway stage is 14th.

Season rating: 4.5/10

Kaizer Chiefs

Position: 6th

Top scorer in all comps: Edson Castillo (5 goals)  

While 2023 has been a difficult year for Amakhosi, it has ended on a rather positive note. 10 points from 12 in the last four games is a decent return for Cavin Johnson’s side, especially when you consider that it took them eight games to accumulate 10 points before that. The promotion of Molefi Nteski was the story of the off-season across the league. His subsequent departure after less than 10 league games in charge has kept the Glamour Boys in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. There have been some spirited performances (sometimes without the results) this season, especially in the MTN8. But the truth is, they have been few and far between. Only in December did Chiefs manage to string together three wins in a row for the first time – it has been the rollercoaster nature of a campaign. Having said that, they are still just five points off the CAF places, so the glass may be seen as half full at the moment.

24 – Chiefs have the same WDL record at this stage of the season as they had in 2022/23 (P16 W7 D3 L6 for 24 points).

Season rating: 5.5/10

Polokwane City

Position: 9th

Top scorer in all comps: Oswin Appollis (5 goals)

For a newly promoted side, Polokwane City has fared well this season. When you compare them with their new counterparts Cape Town Spurs, City have been competitive at least. Then again, the bar may be a bit low, but there is a lot to be shown in the comparison. One major difference is how City have managed to hold on to their leads when they get them. Both teams have been in leading positions in a similar number of instances (6 for City, 5 for Spurs), but City have converted 5 of their leads into wins, losing just one game against Golden Arrows. Spurs meanwhile have won one of five such situations, dropping points in the other four. A Top8 spot may not be too far of a dream for Polokwane, given that they are currently out of the Top8 only on goal difference. They’ll need to do better in the attacking box, however.

8 – No team has failed to score on more occasions than Polokwane this season (8, level with AmaZulu).

Season rating: 5/10

Richards Bay

Position: 15th

Top scorer in all comps: Sanele Barns (3 goals)

12 months ago, Richards Bay were second on the table with 26 points from 14 games. They were just 5 points behind eventual Sundowns, and were every neutral’s favourite – a new side, with limited resources, punching above their weight. Fast forward 12 months, and the picture has been inverted – Richards Bay are 2nd from the bottom, a mammoth 22 points behind Sundowns. They have little else to play for except surviving the chop. Make no mistake, the 3-1 win over SuperSport on 30 December is a massive result, but it should not overshadow the fact that 2023 has been a horrible year for the Rich Boyz. They’ll probably have enough to escape automatic promotion, but as Maritzburg showed last season, even the playoffs can be a poisoned chalice. Whoever comes in to replace Kaitano Tembo will have their work cut out.

20 – Richards Bay lost 20 games in 2023, more than any other club, and one shy of the PSL record for most losses in a year (21).

Season rating: 3/10

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