Over the last week, we have been reviewing the just ended 2019/20 league season bringing statistical summaries of each side that participated in the competition this season.
The fourth and final part of our season review brings up the four clubs at the end of the alphabetical order, including stories on the newly promoted Stellenbpsch, the newly crowned Mamelodi Sundowns and a final chapter of Wits.
Top scorer: Bradley Grobler (14 goals)
Biggest win: 4-1 v Baroka (H)
Biggest defeat: 1-3 v Polokwane (A)
Points swing from previous season: +6 (3rd best)
Position swing from last season: +1
Kaitano Tembo scored in SuperSport’s first Top8 match in the PSL era – the 2001 BP Top8 quarter-final. Since then, SuperSport have appeared in all 19 Top8 tournaments and are the only PSL club to do so. Matsatsantsa came full circle when Tembo led SuperSport to the MTN8 trophy as coach this season, their ninth domestic trophy in the PSL era. They’ve won more domestic finals than any other side except Chiefs (12). Defeat on the last day in the league means they won’t be in CAF competition next season, but that should not take away from the improved results of the team in the time Tembo has been at the helm. 7th in his first (partial) season 2017/18, 6th in 2018/19 and now 5th in 2019/20. Points totals in that period also read 39, 44 and then 50. The signs of improvement are there, even if marginal.
50 – SuperSport breached the 50-point mark in a league season for the first time since 2011/12, and only the second time this decade.
While a lot of attention was shone on Chiefs’ set-piece goals all season (24), Supersport also scored 16 goals from set-pieces this season, the second most of all sides.
Top scorer: Waseem Isaacs (10 goals)
Biggest win: 4-1 v Highlands Park (A)
Biggest defeat: 0-4 v Chiefs (H)
Points swing from previous season: NFD last season
Position swing from last season: NFD last season
If you’d offered Steve Barker that he would need one win on the last day of the season to secure a Top8 spot, he would have bitten your hand off. In the end the newly promoted side lost to Pirates on the last day, and Celtic ended up in 8th. If finishing 10th was a disappointment for Barker and his men, it only shows how impressive they have been in their first top-flight season.
The turning point in Stellies tough first season has to be the month of January, and in particular the Highlands Park game. Stellies lost their first two games of the year, before travelling to 6th placed Highlands Park for a third game in seven days. At this point, they had the joint-fewest wins (3) and the worst goal difference in the league (-10). The league newbies were one point off the bottom in 15th, sandwiched between Polokwane City (14th) & Baroka (16th) with crucial fixtures against City and Baroka on the horizon. Defeat here could have left them at the foot of the table, as Baroka beat Polokwane on the same day.
They made six changes to a tiring starting line-up and managed to beat Highlands Park. Holding on to a narrow 2-1 lead with 5 minutes to go, they managed two more goals in the dying minutes to end up 4-1 winners. They went on to beat Baroka and Polokwane in the coming games, winning three in a row to rise up to 8th by the last week of January. A lot of attention was paid to Pirates’ resurgence at the time, but Stellies were also going through a quiet resurgence of their own. They will be proud of their first season in top-flight football.
36 – The 36 points Stellies collected is the 8th best total for a newly promoted side in the 30-game PSL era (2002 onwards).
Top scorer: Themba Zwane (11 goals)
Biggest win: 3-0 v Chippa, Leopards (H) & AmaZulu, Polokwane City (A)
Biggest defeat: 0-2 v Chiefs (H)
Points swing from previous season: 0
Position swing from last season: 0
Congratulations to Mamelodi Sundowns, who won their 10th PSL title and third in a row, becoming the first side to do so on two separate occasions (also 97/98 – 99/00). Pitso Mosimane won his fifth PSL title (the most by a coach) and third in a row, also becoming only the second coach to do so after Gavin Hunt.
After a sluggish start in the bubble, where they failed to win any of the first four games, Masandawana recovered just in time, winning four of the last five. Included in those wins was a title-decider against Chiefs, that ensured the title race went all the way to the final day. In the end, Sundowns led the table when it mattered most – overtaking Chiefs in the last half-hour of the league season. Downs equalled their biggest win of the season in their two last games, while Chiefs faltered at the finish line. An emphatic 3-0 win on the last day relegated Polokwane also took Pitso’s men to 59 points, the same as last season. Sundowns actually scored two goals from headers in that final game, having scored just one goal from a header in the previous 29 games.
16 – There were 16 different players to score for Sundowns throughout the season, more than any other side. It was also the highest number of scorers for Sundowns in a single season since a record setting 2004/05 when they had 18 different scorers.
Top scorer: Deon Hotto (6 goals)
Biggest win: 3-0 v AmaZulu (A)
Biggest defeat: 0-2 v Supersport & v Cape Town City (A)
Points swing from previous season: -2
Position swing from last season: -1
The oldest professional football club currently in thePremiership, Bidvest Wits sold their top-flight status & will not be in the league next season. Formed in 1921, Wits have been in existence as a club for 99 years, one year short of a century. The end of this Wits chapter is the start of a new chapter for Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, who will start their own top-flight journey next month.
That said, a 4th place finish this season is commendable for Wits, whose future was uncertain especially in the latter stages of the campaign. Even in the midst of uncertainty, they managed to win 14 points in the bio-bubble, the second best total of all sides. They ended the season with the joint-best defensive record in the league, keeping 14 clean sheets and conceding just 22 goals – their lowest total since 2013/14, Hunt’s first season in charge. Coach Hunt has already signed as the new coach of Kaizer Chiefs, and many of their old players may be joining new clubs in the coming weeks.
50% – Wits’ last day win over Polokwane City means Hunt has won 105 of the 210 league games he has overseen for The Students (D52 L53), ending his career at the club with an exact 50% win rate.
By Opta Jabu