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STATS: The Impact Of A Sub In The PSL

Opta Jabu looks at the impact of a sub in the 2022/23 PSL season, as substitutes don’t often get the credit they deserve.

The Impact Of A Sub In The PSL

We see them in (almost) every single game but often don’t give them the credit they deserve. Sometimes, they come onto the field and change the complexion of a game, and often are the ones directly responsible for the result. We’re talking about those guys who don’t start games, but faithfully sit and await the moment – substitutes. Opta Jabu looks at the Impact Of A Sub In The PSL.

Let’s make it clear – subs come on for different reasons all the time. Sometimes, a sub comes on for an injured player, sometimes it’s to give others a rest and at times it is a tactical decision. Yet, they can affect the course of a game, and for some teams the course of a season.

Most Subs Made

Different coaches have a different penchant for substitutes. Injuries permitting, some are happy to start and finish the game with a trusted group of players. Others want to take advantage of the FIFA rule change to five subs and use as many subs as they can in a game. Vusumuzi Vilakazi and Mabhuti Khanyeza fall in the former camp, with the fewest subs made in the last season. They are the only team that did not use all 5 subs in a game all campaign.

87 – Golden Arrows made 87 substitutes in the league last season, the fewest of all sides, and the only team to make less than 100 in-game changes.

TeamSubs Used
Golden Arrows87
Kaizer Chiefs102
Marumo Gallants111

Rulani Mokwena and Jose Riveiro fall in the latter camp, both leading the way for subs made by a team. As we said earlier, fatigue and load management may be a reason for constant rotation during the game. These are teams who went deep into Cup competitions and needed as many men fresh until the very end. Sundowns played 49 games last season, more than any other side. Pirates, meanwhile, were the only team to play every single game possible in domestic competitions.

28 – Sundowns used five subs on 28 occasions last season, more than any other side.

TeamSubs Used
Orlando Pirates143
Royal AM140

Timing Of Subs

The number of subs is one thing, the time that these subs are made is another. This time we see different teams at either end, with the likes of Gavin Hunt, Arthur Zwane, and Brandon Truter making the latest first subs on average.

1 – Chiefs made just one sub against Swallows FC in October, the fewest subs made by a coach in a game this season.

TeamAverage time for 1st sub
SuperSport60 mins
Kaizer Chiefs57 mins
Sekhukhune57 mins

On the other hand, Chippa was the team that made changes the earliest. And no, we are not referring to coaching changes – we’re talking about substitutes. They don’t have the single earliest sub on record this season – that honour goes to TS Galaxy (Orebotse Mongae came on for Lindokuhle Mbatha in the 5th minute against Royal AM).

47 – Chippa’s average time for their first sub is 47 minutes, the earliest of all teams.

TeamAverage time for 1st sub
Chippa47 mins
AmaZulu51 mins
Marumo Gallants52 mins

Substitute Goals

Royal AM (10) and Sundowns (8) were the league leaders for goals coming from the bench last season. Meanwhile, SuperSport, Stellenbosch, Golden Arrows, and Kaizer saw only one goal from players that came off the bench. On 3 May, Chippa beat Royal AM 3-2 with all three goals coming from subs, the most goals from subs for a team in one game this season. In the same game, Aviwe Mqokozo scored a brace after coming on a sub, a record he shared with just one other player this season (Ranga Chivaviro v Cape Town City).

4 – Altogether, Ranga Chivaviro & Mfundo Thikazi scored four goals from the bench last season, the most of all players in the league.

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