399 – The 2019/20 Absa Premiership season lasted 399 days, the longest in PSL history.
There was of course a 153-day extension caused by Covid-19, but in the end, it came down to the final half-hour. The longest, and probably the most gruelling PSL season was only decided with 30 minutes to go. One word sums up this stat, and the entire season – Crazy! We dug through the numbers to look back at the 2019-20 Premier Soccer League, which will forever be remembered as The Longest Season.
31 minutes on top
Congratulations to Mamelodi Sundowns, who won their 10th PSL title and third in a row (first side to do that twice). Congratulations also to Pitso Mosimane, who won his fifth PSL title (most by a coach) and third in a row (only the second coach to do so). Commiserations to Chiefs, who led the table for 379 days total (153 days in lockdown), before Sundowns took to the throne in the final 31 minutes.
5 – In reaching the summit, Sundowns became the fifth side to go top of the Premiership this season, after Chiefs, Wits, Baroka & Polokwane. Indeed, Polokwane City (3 days) led the table longer than Sundowns (1 day), but ended up relegated.
The last team to lead the table and also be relegated in the same season?
Moroka Swallows in 2014/15.
Welcome back The Dube Birds.
The curse of 57 points
Five sides (Sundowns, Chiefs, Pirates, Wits and Supersport) ended the 2019/20 Premiership season with 50+ points, the first time so many teams have breached the 50-point mark since 2011/12 (also 5). Getting 50 points is quite a feat, and usually the mark of a good, if not great, season. But whatever you do, perhaps avoid 57 points.
57 – Five of the last six PSL runners-up have ended the season with exactly 57 points.
You live by the set-piece. You die by the set-piece.
24 – Chiefs scored 24 goals from set-piece situations this season (freekicks, corners, throw-ins and penalties), more than any other side.
That’s 50% of their goals coming from set-pieces. Having tormented teams all season this was, it was ironic that the Baroka goal that denied Chiefs the title came from a set-piece. Middendorp’s primary weapon came back to haunt him.
To add to the freakish, of the 15 sides that Chiefs faced this season, 14 of them succumbed to Chiefs this way at some points. The only side that didn’t concede a set-piece goal to Chiefs were Baroka.
A wealth of goal-scoring players
The abundance of top scoring players has been a major plus this season. Having multiple players vying for the Golden Boot on the last day is a rare feat, but what is even more rare is the number of players with 10+ goals. Remember, 10 goals was enough to win the Golden Boot in 2013/14 – the good old days.
8 – Eight players ended the 2019/20 Premiership season with 10+ league goals, the highest number of double-digit goal-scorers in a single league campaign since 2010/11 (11 players). Special mention must go to Bradley Grobler who was one of the players on both occasions.
To add to the last day drama, Gabadinho Mhango only led the Golden Boot race in injury time of the first half, but Peter Shalulile joined him on 16 goals in the last minute of the second half in his match. This was the first time that Malawi & Namibia were represented in the Golden Boot award, and only the second time the award has been shared.
A dearth of goal-scoring teams
While the individuals thrived, the teams did not. For the third successive season, no team managed to score 50 goals, with Sundowns 2016/17 the last team to do so.
508 – Altogether, there were 508 goals scored in the league in 2019/20, the third lowest total in PSL history. Only 2009/10 (499goals) and 2017/18 (490 goals) had less.
3 – Before this season, only three teams in the last 24 years of PSL history ended the season with less than 20 goals. This season an additional two teams joined that “We-don’t-like-scoring” club – Chippa (18), Baroka (19). This is the first time in PSL history that more than one side netted less than 20.
Club by Club stats: A – Z
65% – Bongi Ntuli scored a higher proportion of his team’s goals than any other player in the league (65%).
100% – Baroka finished the season with a -9 goal difference, meaning they have conceded more goals than they scored in all their four top-flight seasons. They join Thanda Royal Zulu and African Wanderers on the longest 100% record.
99 – Bidvest Wits sold their top-flight status & will not be in the league next season. They are the oldest professional football club currently in the Premiership, as they were formed in 1921, exactly 99 years ago.
50% – Wits’ last day win over Polokwane City means Gavin Hunt has won 105 of the 210 league games he has overseen for The Students (D52 L53), ending his career at the club with an exact 50% win rate.
17 – This is the third time in their history that Black Leopards ended the season with 17+ losses in a season. They were relegated on both occasions that they lost so many games. They are in the playoffs & may still get relegated this time.
22 – Lehlohonolo Seema took charge in July, becoming Chippa United’s 22nd different coach since they were promoted to the top-flight in 2012 (incl. caretakers). No Premiership side has had more in that time.
Cape Town City
47% – Jan Olde Riekerink won 47% of his league games in charge of Cape Town City. Only Pitso Mosimane, Kaitano Tembo & Josef Zinnbauer had a better win rate since the Dutchman’s first game in charge of The Citizens.
2700 – Trevor Mathiane was one of only three top-flight players to play every minute for their club this season, alongside Daniel Cardoso (Chiefs) and Ronwen Williams (Supersport).
16 – Peter Shalulile is the first Highlands Park player to win the Golden Boot for top scorer, ending the season with 16 league goals. Highlands Park are the 15th different club represented in the award winners.
Their best points tally in five years, best goals total in seven, and fifth best win total in the PSL era – all these just weren’t enough. The truth is Chiefs were undone in the restart, conceding a mammoth 10 goals in the bio-bubble. Only the relegated Polokwane City (12) conceded more.
1 – This is the first season in his Chiefs career where Bernard Parker has failed to score.
2 – Sundowns scored two goals from headers in the final games of the season, having scored only one goal from a header in the previous 29 games. The three headers came from players that are not exactly the tallest – Lebo Maboe (2) and Sphelele Mkhulise (1).
42 – Maritzburg ended the season with 42 points. Only once before (44 points in 2017/18) have they had more.
1 – Since Zinnbauer’s first game in charge, Orlando Pirates won 35 points in the league, more than any other side. No opponent has managed to score two past Pirates in any of the games that the German has overseen.
1 – Polokwane City became the first team to lead the table and get relegated since 2014/15, when Moroka Swallows suffered the same fate.
36 – The 36 points Stellies collected is the 8th best total for a newly promoted side in the 30-game PSL era (2002 onwards).
50 – Under Kaitano Tembo, Supersport breached the 50-point mark in a Premiership season for the first time since 2011/12.