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PSL Team Of The Season: 2023/2024 Best XI

The 2023/24 PSL Awards were held last night, with various teams and players getting recognized for performances during the season.


The 2023/24 PSL Awards were held last night, with various teams and players getting recognized for performances during the season. While Sundowns were runaway winners in the league, Orlando Pirates and Stellenbosch scooped the other major trophies, meaning the individual player awards were distributed beyond Chloorkop. Individually, Patrick Maswanganyi & Ronwen Williams were the biggest winners on the night. With the help of some data, we decided to pick our team of the season and give a nod to other players who played well in the campaign but missed out on the awards.

Ronwen Williams

Sundowns won the title, thanks to a defence that conceded a record-equalling 11 goals. Williams conceded seven non-penalty goals in his 22 matches, keeping 15 clean sheets in those games (more than any other player). While many say he doesn’t make many saves (he doesn’t need to), he is key to organizing the defence that protects him. But when called upon, he remains the best. Of the 19 keepers with more than 720 minutes (8+ games), Williams has the best save percentage (83%).

Deano van-Rooyen

The Stellenbosch captain was a key figure in his side’s impressive season, appearing in 90% of his sides’s games. The combative leader led the league for tackles attempted and tackles won (57). No player came close (the next-best in the league had only 39). Of his Stellies teammates, only Devin Titus (142) had more than his 148 duels won, while no outfield player in the maroon & gold that played more than 90 minutes could match his duel success (58%).

Tapelo Xoki

Khuliso Mudau, Aubrey Modiba, Marc van Heerden, and Thamsanqa Mkhize popped up. But for a defence already stacked with full-backs, we went the center-back route on this one for balance. The second-most used player in the second-best side in the league, Tapelo Xoki played 2122 minutes across 26 games. In the four games he missed, Pirates won just one (a 79th-minute winner), drew one, and lost two. They won twice as many games with him in the side (25% to 50%). No player attempted (58) or won (39) more tackles than Xoki at Pirates, while he was only dribbled past 8 times in 26 games.

Tholo Matuludi

For a player new to the top-flight, the Polokwane City defender has done extremely well, and understandably, the transfer rumours have started. The 25-year-old defender missed just one game all season, so he has been vital to a solid defensive campaign for his side. City scored the fewest goals in the division (21), but still made the Top8 thanks to a defence leaking less than a goal per game. Individually, he was a duel monster all campaign – the only player in the division with more than 190 duels won. His 68 interceptions are also a league-high, at least eight more than any other player in the league.

Patrick Maswanganyi

Behind the near-invincible Sundowns, Pirates emerged as the second-best team in the league. And Maswanganyi was the most used player and the best attacker in that team. For an oft-used player not to dip in creativity all season shows how efficiently he has utilized his licence to roam. The attacking midfielder’s radar shows his high rank in several creative metrics.

Marcello Allende

You could choose a few of Sundowns’ impressive midfielders into this team, but Marcello Allende is our pick. He saw many minutes (1301), behind only Shalulile (1583) among outfield players at the club, and no player created more chances at the club than him (32). Yet, he’s in also because he ranks high defensively. Only Aubrey Modiba was engaged in more tackles than the diminutive midfielder, and his 14 interceptions are bettered only by two players at the club. His five-goal involvements also came in handy, especially coming in games against the likes of Pirates, Chiefs & SuperSport.

Sanele Barns

The goal in the playoff “final” game was a perfect send-off for Barns, but it’s his assist in the previous 1-1 game that summarised his importance to the club. No player created more chances than Barns this season (77), making that 124 chances in his two top-flight seasons with the Rich Boyz. No other player has created more than 100 chances since the start of last season in the entire PSL. His off-the-ball work was also impressive, second in his team for possession won and also for ball recoveries.

Jayden Adams

Jayden Adams of Stellenbosch was joint-leader for assists in the Premiership this season, with six, alongside Darwin Gonzalez. Adams played in 2055 minutes, with an impressive 78% passing accuracy. Like other midfielders chosen here, his off-ball work was impressive. At Stellies, only Ismail Toure (172) won more possession than Adams (168), and only Devin Titus (142) won more duels (138). He is also second for ball recoveries among outfield players at Stellies, behind only Toure (172-168).

Iqraam Rayners

From simple attacking output, Rayners has been one of the best. Tshegofatso Mabasa may have won the Golden Boot ahead of Rayners this season but even was by fine margins (16-15). When you think of creative players in the league, the mind goes to attacking midfielders like Barns, Titus & Appollis. But Rayners ended the season second in the league for big chances created and 3rd for open-play chances created. He’s in the team for excelling in his primary role (goalscoring) and in a secondary role (creating).

Tshegofatso Mabasa

The Golden Boot winner is one of our safest picks. Uniquely, his 16 goals came from two different clubs (6 at Swallows in the first half of the season, and 10 at Pirates in the second). He is the 5th Pirates player to score 10+ goals in the second half of a PSL season, among notable names like Sibusiso Zuma (11 in 98/99), Pollen Ndlanya (12 in 00/01), Lesley Manyathela (10 in 02/03) and Gabadinho Mhango (10 in 19/20). But he excelled this season, converting 78% of the big chances presented to him – the next four best players in the league are all between 63% & 69%. He’s been deadly.

Lucas Costa

His debut season ended cruelly with a missed penalty and forced injury substitution in the Cup final. But he’s been outstanding for a Sundowns squad stacked with talent. 16 goal involvements alone is a solid return, but the rate at which they came is noteworthy. Of players with at least a goal and an assist, Costa was involved in a goal every 80 minutes, by far the best in the league. The next best (Nurkovic) took 115 minutes for every goal involvement. Costa’s 107 minutes per goal scored is also the best in the PSL.

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