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PSL Season Reviews: Part 3 (Team R – S)

As we continue our end-of-season review of the PSL season, two underperforming KZN clubs are under focus in Richards Bay and Royal AM.

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As we continue our end-of-season review of the PSL season, two underperforming KZN clubs are under focus in Richards Bay and Royal AM. We also look at two clubs that could be said to have overperformed Stellenbosch and Sekhukhune United. The latter ended the season in 3rd and 4th place respectively, and were rewarded for stellar campaigns with continental football. They will be the PSL’s representatives in the CAF Confederations Cup. Richards Bay’s season is not yet over, as they are involved in the promotional playoffs happening at the moment, but even winning that will not move the needle in our evaluation of their season. Enjoy Part 3 of the 4-part series.

Richards Bay

Last season: 13th

This season: 15th

Points swing from last season: -3

The three points difference from last season suggests Richards Bay were slightly worse in 2023/24 than they were in 2022/23. A deeper look will show that they were miles off the pace compared to their first season after promotion. Only Sundowns spent more nights at the top of the table last season than Richards Bay (8), whose campaign only fell off after the World Cup. This season, they have been second from bottom since the first week, and only a late surge in the final two months helped avoid the chop. Wins over Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates (twice*) will be the highlights of their season, but a run to the Carling Cup semi-finals was also a notable achievement. Yet, it’s the Q4 run that will be more important, as that helped them steer away from automatic relegation.

16 – Only Orlando Pirates (17) and Sundowns (27) won more points than Richards Bay (16) since the beginning of April.

Royal AM

Last season: 11th

This season: 13th

Points swing from last season: -2

Next season will be Royal AM’s fourth in the top-flight, and they can not afford to take another step back as they have been doing since their first campaign. Should their downward trajectory from 3rd in 2021/22 (47 points) to 11th last season (35 points) and 13th this season (33 points) continue, they will be fighting relegation in 2024/25. Their defence let them down mostly, conceding 43 goals (as many as relegated Spurs), with only Arrows (44) conceding more in the division. This would be forgivable if it was a once-off occurrence, but they conceded the same last season (43), more than the relegated Marumo Gallants, and also one fewer than the worst team Chippa (44). One clean sheet in the final 10 games is emblematic of that defensive wane, but it’s their openness away from home that will be top of the agenda in their end-of-season review meeting.

1- Royal AM kept just one clean sheet away from home all season (v Chiefs in September), the fewest of all sides.


Last season: 7th

This season: 4th

Points swing from last season: +5

In just four months, Lehlohonolo Seema revitalised Sekhukhune and got them into the Top 4. Along the way, he won Coach of the Month and inspired one of his own to Player of the Month. While the end of the season saw a decline in both performances and results, Seema had done enough by the end of April to consider his appointment a success. Despite changing coaches midway through the season and some uncertainty towards the end, Adibahlabe improved four places and 5 points from last season, thanks in large part to that five-game winning run in March. The reward is another season of continental football, as they are set to represent the PSL in the Confederations Cup alongside Stellenbosch.

31 – Only Sundowns (46) won more points than Sekhukhune since Seema’s first league game in charge in December (31).


Last season: 6th

This season: 3rd

Points swing from last season: +10

Spent the first few weeks of the season figuring things out after the loss of some key players in the off-season. After Q1 (at the end of September), Stellies sat in 14th place, just two points above the relegation playoff places. What followed was a run of form that showed why the club’s approach under the astute Stev Barker has been a positive example to the Premier League. Winning the Carling Cup is the standout moment of the season, but deep Cup run in the Nedbank Cup, a club record 25-game unbeaten streak are equally praiseworthy. Along the way, Barker won the Coach of the Month award, and Iqraam Rayners took the equivalent player award. They also have a few nominations in the PSL end-of-season awards, and if there was a trophy for the most improved side, they’d be favourites.

10 – Stellenbosch won 10 more pints in 20-23/24 than they did in 2022/23, the biggest points swing of any side in the top-flight.

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