Our look back at past PSL seasons continues, in our third edition of PSL history. This time, we focus on the 2008 to 2014 years, a period that included South Africa hosting the 2010 World Cup.
Similar to the first & second six years, there were four different league winners. This was a period of memorable teams, as Orlando Pirates double treble followed SuperSport United’s triple champions. For Mamelodi Sundowns, it was a period of relative drought – The Brazilians won the 2013/14 title after a seven-year wait, their longest wait in the PSL era.
Led by Elias Pelembe and new signing Anthony Laffor upfront, SuperSport defended their 2007/08 title successfully this season, even though only on goal difference. To date, the 55 points from 2008/09 is the second lowest total for a title-winning side, only their 2007/08 win (54pts) is lower. In fact, as many as 15 sides have won 55+ points in a PSL season and still
not the title.
Meanwhile ,there were contrasting fortunes for KZN sides. Golden Arrows finished a league high 5th place and AmaZulu ended on a league high 42 points, but Thanda Royal Zulu were relegated, despite having won 32 points.
10 – Thanda Royal Zulu are the only side to win 10+ games (out of 30) & still get relegated.
SuperSport went on to defend the League in 2009/10, and are one of only two sides to win three successive titles. In the process, Gavin Hunt became the only PSL coach to win three titles in a row, a record to date. Laffor, with Daine Klate, led the line for the champions.
In a season restructured for the World Cup, the League didn’t see too many goals all round.
499 – There were 499 goals scored in the 2009/10 Absa Prem season, the first ever season in the PSL with less than 500 goals.
As if to make amends, the following season was a record breaker for goalscoring. 602 goals were scored that season, the highest tally for a 30-game season. Correspondingly, the 136 clean sheets in that high scoring season remains a record lowest for a PSL campaign.
Pirates ended up as champions, but two other sides won more games than them that
season (Ajax 2nd & Sundowns 4th both won 18 games, to Pirates’s 17). This is the only
season where two or more teams have won more games than the champions.
The Buccaneers rode their luck a bit in the end, winning the title on goal difference, one of only three occasions where the League has been won on goal difference (also 2008/09 and 1998/99).
Even 14th placed AmaZulu scored more goals than them.
3 – Pirates won the treble of MTN8, Nedbank Cup and PSL championship in 2010/11, becoming the first South African club to do that in the same season.
5 – Bloemfontein Celtic ended 2010/11 in 5th position, on 52 points, both their highest finishing position and points tally in the PSL.
15 – Mpumalanga Black Aces finished the season in bottom place, on 15 points, the lowest points total for any side in the 30-game era.
The Buccaneers maintained their stronghold on SA football the following season, retaining the title and the MTN8, and winning the Telkom Knockout. They are the only side to win, let alone retain, a domestic treble in successive PSL seasons.
Moroka Swallows had gone into the last weekend of play still with a chance to win the League, and they duly won 1-0 v Maritzburg. While Pirates (with just 5 league wins away all season) trailed 2-1 after 30 minutes v Arrows in Durban, the dream for a 1st PSL-era title for the Dube Birds looked possible.
Pirates ended up winning 4-2 at Moses Mabhida Stadium, leaving Swallows as runner up.
2 – Swallows ended the 2011/12 season in 2nd and on 52 points, their highest finishing position and points total in the PSL.
20 – Leading the line for Swallows, Siyabonga Nomvethe ended the season as the League’s top scorer, on 20 goals.
Alongside Collins Mbesuma, Nomvethe is one of only two players to score 20 or more goals in a 30-game PSL season.
Stuart Baxter joined Chiefs in 2012, and led them to their first League title in eight years. They needed just 15 wins to be champions, the lowest for a title winner, and yet again, it was a title built on a steely defence, and an unbeaten home record.
Chiefs conceded just 21 goals on their way to the title, the best defence in the top-flight. On all the occasions Chiefs have won the league, they had the meanest defence.
10 – The highest scoring League game in the PSL era took place in 2012/13, as Platinum Stars beat Golden Arrows 6-4 at the Royal Bafokeng in December 2012.
Bernard Parker ending the season as top scorer on 10 goals is still talked about today, not as positively as, say, Mbesuma scoring 25 goals. Indeed, 2013/14 will be remembered for another story beginning to shape at Chloorkop.
Pitso Mosimane had joined Sundowns midway through the previous season. He went about establishing himself quickly, winning a
title in his first full season in charge. This would prove ominous for the coming six years.
By Opta Jabu