From 1996 to 2002, the top-flight consisted of 18 teams, with each team playing 34 matches per season.
This early PSL period was dominated by Mamelodi Sundowns, who won three of the six titles in that time.
Manning Rangers (1996/97), Orlando Pirates (2000/01) and Santos (2001/2) won the other three, while Kaizer Chiefs finished second on four occasions.
We dug through the history books to bring you some stats around the first few seasons on the PSL, as a few records were set, both good and bad, in the early years. (NB: These were all 34 game seasons, so some records may be affected by that).
23 – The record for most wins in a PSL season is 23, with Manning Rangers (96/97), Sundowns (98/99 and 99/00) and Kaizer Chiefs (98/99) all winning 23 of their 34 games.
The 23 wins out of 34 represents 68% of the games played. Although remarkable, it is not the highest percentage. Kaizer Chiefs won 70% of their games in 2014/15, while the Sundowns 2015/16 side, won 73% of their league games in 2015/16 (22 of 30), the highest proportion of any PSL side.
6 – AmaZulu conceded six goals at home for the first time in that season. Since then, they have conceded six at home on another two occasions, and are now the side that has conceded six at home more than any other side.
Sundowns won 75 points in the memorable 1998/99 PSL season that was decoded by goal difference on the final day. The 75 points remains the joint-highest number of points won by a PSL side over a full season. Chiefs also won 75 points that season, but finished second on goal difference, the highest number of points won by a non-title winning side. That said, the 73 goals that Chiefs scored remains a record for a team goal tally in a single season. At 2.15 goals per game, it is the best goals per game ratio by any side over a full PSL season.
44 – Sundowns goal difference of +44 in that season, is also a PSL record. No other side has ever managed more than a +40 goal difference.
Sundowns continued their early PSL era dominance by winning 75 points for a second successive season. The 150 points over two seasons is a record for any PSL club, as they marched onto a 3rd straight league title, this time under Paul Dolezar.
3 – Sundowns are one of only two PSL clubs that have won three PSL titles in a row (Supersport 2007 – 2010 being the other one).
822 – There were 822 goals scored in the 1999/00 season, the most in a single top-flight campaign. At 2.69 goals per game, it remains the best season for goals scored.
Sundowns ended the 1999/00 season 65 points ahead of Mother City FC, the biggest ever gap between first and last in a PSL season. The Mother City side were so bad, they conceded 85 goals throughout the campaign and ended the season with an away record of Played 17 Won 0 Drew 0 Lost 17, the first and last time any side finished a season without a point away from home. Their 10 points total is also the record lowest for any PSL era team.
44 – Pirates scored 44 goals at home in 1999/00, the highest total for any side at home in a full season (2.59 goals per game is also a PSL best).
Sundowns continued where they left off the previous season, and won the most games in 2000/01 (17) but did not win the title. This side is one of only five clubs that won the most games, but didn’t win the championship.
99 – There were 99 matches that ended in a draw this season, more than any other season.
Santos won the PSL title in 2001/02, rather unexpectedly. Many have compared this side (and the 1996/97 Manning Rangers side) to the Leicester City team that won the English Premier League title in 2016. That’s how unexpected the victory was. However, the two victories had one thing in common: Gordon Igesund.
3 – Igesund led Santos to the 2001/02 title, in what was his third title win with three different sides. He would later make it 4 different sides in 2006/07 with Sundowns. No manager has won the title with more than two different clubs.
Whereas 2001/02 has 39 goalless draws (a league record), the following season saw just 18 goalless draws, the fewest in the history of the competition. Pirates beat SuperSport United to the title, while Sundowns finished a distant 10th.
10 – Sundowns finished in 10th position this season, their worst position in a top-flight campaign. They’d equal the 10th place finish the following season, and once more in 2012/13.
By Opta Jabu