As the curtain came down on the Absa Premiership marriage with the PSL this weekend, records have tumbled while some reputable teams have been sold, obliterating their rich histories.
There’s been tears of joy and moments of sadness alike. Surely, it has been a roller coaster journey. FARPost ushers you down memory lane, all the way down to where it all started with Absa as the League’s sponsor.
Absa have had a seemingly fruitful 16-year marriage with football in South Africa, 13 of which have been as sponsor of the Absa Premiership since 2007. The banking group took over from Castle Lager as the League’s main sponsor and increased the first prize to R10 million.
As they bow out, they will take pride in that they leave the domestic game ranked 6th best in Africa according to the CAF 5-Year ranking system as of May 2019. Only Morocco’s Botola Pro, the Egyptian Premier League, Tunisian Ligue 1, Vodacom Ligue 1 of DR Congo and Algeria’s Lique 1 were ahead of the local League.
Last May’s ranking coincided with the increase in the sponsorship figures to R39.9 million. The development meant that Absa Premiership League winners would walk away with a cool R15 million.
In his parting shot, Absa CEO Daniel Mminele congratulated Mamelodi Sundowns for winning the fifth Premiership title under the tutelage of Pitso ‘Jingles’ Mosimane. “As we bow out, we are reminded of all great memories we have created,” Mminele said.
Sundowns, who dramatically captured the title on the last day, walk away with the bragging rights for the decade. In fact, the Absa Premiership has the Brazilians’ badge in recognition of the record number of points and titles in their trophy cabinet.
Downs recorded the highest-ever points haul in the history of the local game when they amassed 71 points in the 2015-16 season, after their 1-0 slender win against Platinum Stars on the last day of the campaign.
The Brazilians captain Hlompho Kekana admitted it was a tough season after things went into a standstill because of the Covid-19 outbreak. But the former Black Leopards, Bloemfontein Celtic and SuperSport United midfielder is happy to have helped his club win the PSL title for the 10th time.
Who would forget the year 2008, 2009 and 2010 when Mantsatsantsa clinched a hat-trick of titles? Ironically, Kekana won two of those, which brings his total title haul to seven. Gavin Hunt was the architect behind SuperSport United’s heroic triumph. Hunt has won the Absa Premiership title 4 times as a coach.
It leaves the Bidvest Wits coach one short of Mosimane’s collection, making the latter the PSL’s most decorated coach. The former Bafana Bafana mentor admitted it was an emotional moment for him. He praised his charges for displaying character particularly towards the end of the grueling campaign.
Interestingly, five clubs have shared the Absa Premiership honours in the last 13 seasons: Mamelodi Sundowns (five times), SuperSport United (three times), Kaizer Chiefs (two times), Orlando Pirates (two times) and Bidvest Wits (one time).
In 2016, local fans then witnessed the resurrection of Cape Town City FC when John Comitis bought the franchise rights of the now-defunct Mpumalanga Black Aces FC.
The original club Cape Town City FC dates to the ‘60s. The team has had a stellar start in Absa Premiership as they won their first ever silverware, six months after the club’s formation. The ‘Citizens’ defeated SuperSport United 2–1 in the Telkom Knockout Cup final on 10 December 2016. The club also won the MTN 8 cup in 2018.
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By Mauwane Raophala