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PSL Half-term Report: Part 3 Of 4

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


The PSL reached its halfway mark this past weekend, as the 120th game was 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 3 features Orlando Pirates, Royal AM, Sekhukhune and Stellenbosch. Enjoy.

Orlando Pirates

Position: 5th

Top scorer in all comps: Zakhele Lepasa (10 goals)

Back-back defeats have put a dampener on Orlando Pirates’ recent good form. The Buccaneers had taken 16 of the 18 points available since early November. They already have an MTN8 trophy in the cabinet for this term, but Pirates know that they could easily have more points in the league. The shock defeat to Cape Town Spurs (Spurs’ only win of the season) will be the biggest regret, but even the last two games will bring nightmares. For the first time in 24 years, Pirates lost back-to-back league games despite opening the scoring in both (also v SuperSport & Wits in the 1999/00 season). The inexplicable 10-minute collapse against Stellies will sting more than the SuperSport defeat, but the agenda in the second half of the season is clear – more consistent wins, and a climb higher up the table.

6/10 – Pirates have won more points in the second half of the season than the first in four of the last six campaigns.

Season rating: 6.5/10

Royal AM

Position: 14th

Top scorer in all comps: Mxilisi Macuphu Castillo (3 goals)   

Every season since their formation, Royal AM have managed six wins at the halfway stage, except for this one. Five wins in 15 highlight their mid-term report, and it is a rather unsatisfactory return. They were knocked out of the Carling Cup at the first stage, and there are very few highlights from their season, except isolated pairs of wins in August and December. A leaky defence has not helped, with 22 goals conceded – only bottom Cape Town Spurs have conceded more. That record is magnified especially away from home, where Royal AM have just one clean sheet on the road. It’s an extension of a travel record that has not been good enough for a while – Royal Am have just three away wins in the last 15 months (P26 W3 D9 L14 since Sept 2022). You know your team has big problems when your top goalscorer has just three goals, but then again, it could be a sign that the load is shared across the board.

9 – Nine players have scored for Royal AM this season; only Arrows (10) have more different scorers.

Season rating: 4/10


Position: 12th

Top scorer in all comps: Chibuiku Ohizo (5 goals) 

Another team that seems to be stagnant is Sekhukhune. They have the same points total this season as they had at this stage last season (18 points). They also have the same goal difference at this stage (both -1). Although the 14 goals scored at this stage last season is slightly better than the 12 this time around, 15 goals conceded is almost par with the 14 conceded this term. A few players have stood out this season, in particular, Elias Mokwana, Jammie Webber, and Kamohelo Mokotjo. The departure of coach Brandon Truter has not brought the new manager bounce some may have expected, but it may be a sign that management are not taking things for granted. CAF involvement has really stretched their squad, so there is that to consider too when analyzing their season.

24 – Only Sundowns (30) and Pirates (26) have played more games than Sekhukhune so far this season (24).

Season rating 4.5/10


Position: 4th

Top scorer in all comps: Iqraam Rayers (6 goals)

Stellenbosch’s half-season report may not be full of distinctions, but it certainly makes for impressive reading. Stellies are the only team to have reached the semi-finals of both MTN8 and Carling Cup this season. For good measure, they are the only team to reach the semis of all competitions this year (also the Nedbank Cup). Even their elimination from the MTN8 was only on away goals to Orlando Pirates. We’ve written much about them elsewhere, and you will find plenty on this site with more detail. The Carling Cup win is the first major trophy for the club, and there may be plenty more to come. For now, they are the team of the moment – Stellies are unbeaten in 11 games across all competitions since the beginning of October (P11 W9 D2 L0) – the only top-flight team unbeaten across competitions in that time.
Their performance away to Orlando Pirates is a perfect illustration of the belief sweeping through the squad.

2-0-2-3 – 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).

Season rating 7/10

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