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PSL Season Reviews: Part 2 (Team C – P)

The 2023/24 PSL season has officially ended, and it is time for our annual review of the PSL season.


The 2023/24 PSL season has officially ended, and it is time for our annual review of the PSL season. Sundowns were runaway winners in the league, Stellenbosch won the Carling Cup, while Orlando Pirates won the MTN8 & Nedbank Cups. It is time for the annual look back at all 16 top-flight teams that participated in a four-part series. Part 2 of the 4-part series focuses on Teams C to P. This includes two teams in Chippa and Golden Arrows that had disappointing seasons, the aforementioned Orlando Pirates and newly promoted Polokwane City. Enjoy.

Chippa United

Last season: 14th

This season: 12th

Points swing from last season: +4

In the three weeks at the beginning of April, Chippa went on a four-game winning run that signaled ambitious intent for the run-in. They knocked TS Galaxy out of the Nedbank Cup, beat Cape Town Spurs, Kaizer Chiefs, and SuperSport by the same comfortable scoreline (2-0), and were in the final four of the Nedbank Cup. At that point, they were in the Top 8 on the league table. Good times. But those results did not turn out to be the great leap forward they looked like a month ago. The Chilli Boys were subsequently eliminated from the Cup by Pirates, a result that knocked the wind out of their feeble sails. A league table for May alone would put Chippa at the bottom, with just two points from 15. As a result, they slid down to 12th, and another season of not-too-good-to-challenge not-to-bad-to-go-down ended with a whimper. Chippa improved slightly in points and position from last season, but nothing to write home (a letter) about.

12 – Chippa’s average finishing position since they became a top-flight is 12th, their finishing position this season.

Golden Arrows

Last season: 9th

This season: 9th

Points swing from last season: 0

Four teams topped the table at some point this season, and three ended up in the Top 8. Golden Arrows are the exception and, in a way that summarises their season. It was one of ambitious highs and profound lows. At the end of October, for example, Arrows were 2nd on the table and Coach Khenyeza was crowned Coach of the Month (a first for Arrows in nearly a decade). What followed next was a four-month run of nine consecutive defeats (a first-ever for Arrows). Fortunately, Swallows played truant in their December clash, so three points were awarded to dilute that run. They won fewer points in the 21 games post-October than the nine games before then, and it’s no wonder their season concluded in a drab manner. And don’t forget the 7-1 mauling by Orlando Pirates. The result: the same win, draw, loss, points total, and position as last season.

9 – Arrows have finished 9th on the table for the 8th time, more than any other PSL team. No other team has finished ninth more than three times.

Orlando Pirates

Last season: 2nd

This season: 2nd

Points swing from last season: -4

A three-game winless run at the end of the season had us nearly downgrade Pirates’ season from a B to a C. But victory in the Cup final over Sundowns has put a gloss on their campaign. The good news is that they get another go at the CAF Champions League, after falling early this season. The better news is that they have another two Cups to show in the cabinet for 2023/24. That’s 4 trophies now in 2 years for their Spanish gaffer. Back-to-back 2nd place finishes will taste sweet for the moment, but there’s only one way up now. Even if they don’t win it, at least challenging Sundowns will restore some aura to the Buccaneers. Pirates’ inconsistencies continue to haunt them – a 2-game winning run in November, a 3-game run in December, and a 5-game winning run are the only back-to-back runs they managed. They need longer streaks or more 3-4 game-winning runs to make the PSL interesting once again.

8 – Orlando Pirates have finished 2nd in eight different PSL seasons, more than any other side.

Polokwane City

Last season: 1st Division

This season: 8th

Points swing from last season: N/A

They scored just 21 goals this season, which was the fewest of all teams in the division. In PSL history, this is the lowest total for a team finishing in the Top 8. But with a defence as strong as theirs, they did not need too many goals. Rise and Shine kept 15 clean sheets this season – a clean sheet in every other game, with only Sundowns (20) keeping more. And that strong defence was the foundation for a surprisingly successful first term in the top flight. Rumors of certain stars being priced away have started to circulate, and their departure may make next season’s test even tougher – will second-season syndrome strike? For now, City can bask in the glory of becoming the first side to finish in the Top8 straight after promotion since Swallows in 2020. But for the furniture, they could have scored more.

14 – Polokwane City hit the woodwork 14 times during the season, more than any other team in 2023/24.

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