Is the PSL lagging behind Botola & Egyptian leagues?


In 2020 Sgwili Gumede delivered a compelling synopsis on the football financial standards in South Africa.

Gumede argued that the “South African club football may have some challenges but, fundamentally, it’s still very strong and healthy.”

He further alluded that the PSL is one of the leagues that has always had a mix of pay-TV and free-to-air in their broadcast mix. This sophisticated audio-visual rights package has been a thorny issue between (PSL) in one corner and the (SABC and ICASA) in other quarter.

Still, Sigwili (a global sport business professional with 30 years experience running global organizations and brands across various industries) concentrated on variables including marketing, branding, broadcasting and overall investment portfolio of the PSL.

But FARPost’s Investigative Unit wants to interrogate other variables (a bit technical) to test the validity and strength of the PSL in relation to the Moroccan (Botola) and the Egyptian leagues.

To streamline its in-depth analysis, this publication will focus on the following technical factors (performance, migration of coaches and players and head to head encounters) to gauge the strength of the PSL against the North African counterparts.

1. Performance

The Egyptian and Botola leagues representatives in the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup has been impressive. Raja Casablanca (Botola) are the Confed champions, Al Ahly (Egyptian Premier) are the Champions League winners. South Africa had one representative in the Champions League semi-final, and none in the Confed semifinals.

Both champions of Africa’s premier competitions are from Morocco and Egypt. Furthermore, both countries had defending champions at the beginning of the 2021 campaigns.

2. Migration of talent

Pitso Mosimane joined Ahly from Sundowns, and more recently, RS Berkane recruited AS Vita mentor, Florent Ibenge. Both Mosimane and Ibenge are successful championship winning coaches at the pinnacle of their careers. Both coaches were also classmates in the inaugural CAF Pro License conducted in Morocco.

In terms of players, the Egyptian and Botola leagues are attracting the best talent to their stables. Ben Malango joined Raja from TP Mazembe and Fabrice Ngoma too joined Raja from Vita.

With the rumoured movement of Soufiane Rahimi from Raja to Ahly for a proposed fee of $5m, further highlighting the gulf in purchasing power between these two leagues and the PSL.

3. Head-to-Head

In the 2021 Club continental sojourn, all the South African big three teams (Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates) were all humiliated by these two league representatives.

First, Sundowns with all the talent at their disposal came short of a Pitso tactical stroke. Secondly, Pirates fell meekly to a potent Rahimi-Malango partnership in Casablanca, and lastly, Chiefs succumbed to Afsha-inspired in the final.

This impending scenario to a league (PSL) in abundance of economic and investment potential, but seriously lacking the technical-tactical pedigree to trouble the two strongest African leagues (Egyptian and Botola).

So, when technical variables are scrutinized, the PSL is seriously lagging behind the big boys in North Africa, maybe it is an opportunity to put our financial resources in trying to address our deficiencies on the field.

RELATED STORY: Why SA clubs play second fiddle to North Africans

By FARPost