The PSL season resumes this weekend following a brief hiatus for the international break.
A double header victory for Bafana Bafana was welcome news for all soccer lovers, who are still stuck at home and can’t go to the stadium to watch the game. Football without fans – aka the new normal – is still a weird thing to witness. One thing that has remained constant however, is the stats that come from football. Imagine football without stats?
Stats bring much needed context and narrative to the game, among many other uses. We’ve picked out five of the most outstanding stats from the opening few games of the season, to bring some context into the 25th PSL season.
One month in, what has stood out?
An Indomitable Lion
Bienvenue Eva Nga scored the first hat-trick of the season when Chippa beat Maritzburg 3-1 earlier this month. PSL hat-tricks are rare and this is Chippa’s third hat-trick in the PSL era (after Lerato Manzini & Rhulani Manzini). No side has scored as many league hat-tricks as Chippa since their promotion in 2014.
Eva Nga’s treble placed Chippa joint-sixth on the all-time PSL hat-trick log. Yes, Chippa (first promoted in 2012) have seen more hat-tricks than Golden Arrows (promoted 2000) and Black Leopards (promoted 2001).
2 – Eva Nga became the first Cameroon international to score a PSL league hat-trick since Jean-Paul Bang-Penda scored one for Witbank Aces against Real Rovers in April 1997.
SuperSport are upon us
Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns have been dubbed The Big 3 for good reason – fan following, number of Cups, multiple PSL titles and the fact that they have been ever present in the PSL top-flight. The fourth member of that club can easily be forgotten even though they have won only one less league title than Chiefs and Pirates.
Indeed, SuperSport United (9) have won more domestic Cups in the PSL era than both Sundowns (8) and Orlando Pirates (7). While a 10th Cup eluded them in the MTN8 this season, Matsatsantsa still notched up two wins in the league this season, edging closer to another
299 – SuperSport have won 299 league games in the PSL era, and are one shy of becoming only the 4th side to 300 wins.
Adding the Golden Boot winner to your strikeforce will make any team more potent upfront. Adding both the Golden Boot winner and the 5th top scorer – now that could make a team lethal. Five goals in three games for Sundowns is a decent return and is also their joint-best return at this stage of a season since 2011 (6 goals). Yet, it is the miserly defence that has really stood out in the new Sundowns era. It’s now five clean sheets in a row in the league if you go back to the end of last season, and the aggregate score over the last 10 games reads 14-2. Defences win you something legendary saying goes.
3 – Sundowns have kept a clean sheet in all three season opening league games for only the second time in PSL history and first since 2011/12.
Malawi grabbing the headlines
No, not like that. John Maduka reaching the MTN8 final as a coach having done so as a player? Check. Richard Mbulu scoring three goals in the first two games of the 2020/21 season, having previously never scored in his first 25 appearances beforehand? Check.
But one thing that may have gone unnoticed in the first month of football was Gabadinho Mhango scoring in the 1-1 draw with AmaZulu. Perhaps we are so used to seeing him score that we (at least the Opta Jabu team) missed that he reached a personal milestone:
50 – Mhango has now scored 50 league goals in South African football at four different clubs (17 goals for Pirates, 14 for Wits and 14 for Celtic, 5 for Golden Arrows).
Chiefs firing blanks
The last time Chiefs scored more than one goal in a league game – 97 days ago (August 2020).
The last time Chiefs had more than one goal that did not come from a set-piece situation in a league game – 474 days ago (August 2019).
The last time Chiefs went 4 successive games in all competitions (including CAF) without a goal – 1706 days ago (March 2016).
The last time Chiefs failed to score in 4 successive games in all domestic competitions (excluding CAF) – 4779 days ago (October 2007).
If Chiefs fail to score against Golden Arrows on Saturday, they would have gone 4 games without a goal in all domestic competitions, something that has not happened to them since
October 2007 under Muhsin Ertugral.
Former assistant coach Shaun Bartlett played for Chiefs against Platinum Stars in that 4th game without a goal in 2007. Current assistant coach Arthur Zwane also played for Chiefs against Platinum Stars in that 4th game without a goal in 2007.
By Opta Jabu