Our last piece on Top 8 history takes us to the most recent period, as we cover the seven seasons from 2014 to 2020.
This period of time has seen a change of guard, as traditional giants Chiefs, Sundowns & Pirates together have lifted just one title. On the other hand, new sides have risen to the top, with three new teams winning a Top8 title. In the absence of traditional giants, SuperSport have taken the mantle of “dominance”, especially in the last three years. They’ve appeared in the last three finals, repeating the record they set in the early 2000s.
7 – SuperSport have appeared in seven Top8 finals in the PSL era, more than any other side except Chiefs (also 7).
2014 – CHIEFS PERFECT TOURNAMENT
The 2014 Top8 tournament was a perfect tournament for Chiefs, and a sign of what was to come that season. They won the 2014 Top8 and would later win the league title that season, amassing a massive 69 points in the 30-game era. Their dominance was illustrated by their perfect record in the tournament: Played 4, Won 4 Drew 0 Lost 0 Goals 10 Goals Conceded 0.
4 – Chiefs won all four of their matches in the 2014 Top8 without any extra time or penalty shootout needed, and are the only PSL side to go through an entire Top8 tournament without conceding a goal.
A bit like the Greek mythical God Icarus, they had flown very high. But like Icarus, they flew too close to the sun that their wings got burned. The two trophies from the 2014/15 season were the last trophies for Amakhosi. The subsequent five-year wait has been the longest that they have endured without a trophy in the PSL era.
2015 – AJAX WIN FIRST TOP8 TITLE
If there was a moment that signified the change in guard, it was the 2015 final. Ajax Cape Town were first of the new winners to lift the Top8. The Urban Warriors won the 2015 title, beating defending champions Chiefs in the final. Just like Chiefs, this was Ajax’s last topflight trophy.
1 – Ajax were the first side to win the title scoring just once in each tie (1-0 in the quarter-final, 1-1 in the first semi, 1-0 in the second semi and 1-0 in the final).
2016 – WITS WIN FIRST TOP8 TITLE (in the PSL era)
Although Wits University won the Top8 in 1984 and 1995, the newly formed Bidvest Wits only won their first title in 2016. Gavin Hunt’s team had finished 2nd in the league the previous season, and were looking to fill the gap left by Chiefs and Pirates in the upper echelons of South African football. They beat Sundowns 1-0 in a heavyweight final – the only time the teams that finished 1 and 2 in the previous league season met in the following Top8 final. The Clever Boys also went on to lift the league that season.
2017: SUPERSPORT WIN AGAIN
Three months after winning the 2017 Nedbank Cup, SuperSport lifted the 2017 MTN8 Cup, beating Cape Town City 4-2 on penalties in the final. This was their 8th major domestic knockout trophy. Only Chiefs have won more in the PSL era (15).
2018: CAPE TOWN CITY WIN FIRST TOP8 TITLE
The trend of first time winners continued in 2018, when Cape Town City won the 2018 MTN8 Cup. The Citizens got their revenge over SuperSport from the previous season, condemning Matsatsantsa to their 4th Top8 final loss in the PSL era (no side has lost more). It was also the first time that the same teams had competed in successive Top8 finals. Both matches were decided on penalty shoot-outs.
2019 – THE KAITANO TEMBO EFFECT
SuperSport won the MTN8 this season, beating Highlands Park 1-0 in the final. Tembo had scored as a player in their first ever Top8 match in the PSL era – the 2001 BP Top8 quarter-final, and now led them as coach to the title. SuperSport have appeared in all the 19 Top8 tournaments since that first one and are the only PSL club to do so.
3 – This was SuperSport’s 3rd successive final after 2017 & 2018. They are the only PSL side to have appeared in three successive Top8 finals, doing so twice (also 2004-2006).
By Opta Jabu