After a cautious but successful birth into top-flight football in 2019-20, Stellenbosch FC looked like they were now starting to take baby steps.
Like any club, the primary goal is to live in the top-flight as long as possible until you are an established top-flight side. Truth is, not every club matures to “adulthood”.
On the other side of town, Cape Town City are in their 5th year of existence. Picture John Comitis’ taking his bundle of joy to school. The two clubs may be at different stages in their growth, but they have hit a similar mini-plateau at around the same time – they just cannot find a win. No wins in five for City. No wins in eight for Stellies.
This weekend presents an opportunity for both teams to concentrate on the present instead of the recent past, and brighten up their future prospects in the process.
8 – Stellenbosch’s current run of eight games without a win (D4 L4 all comps) is their longest winless run since they were promoted to the top flight in 2019.
Cape Town City’s winless run may be shorter than Stellies’ (5), but it has been just as damaging to their ambitions. Their recent troubles have come away from home, however – City have won one of the eight games they have played away from home all year. And that was at bottom club Black Leopards.
Riekerink and co. will be glad to be back in Cape Town for their next tie, given their better record when playing in the comforts of familiar territory.
1 – City have lost just one of their last seven home games in all competitions (W4 D2), scoring 19 goals in that time.
Oddly, the Citizens have never lost a league game played in the month of March (P10 W7 D3 L0), the only team in PSL history to have played more than two PSL seasons that has a calendar month in which they remain unbeaten.
They will want to hold onto that record for another year, and with just one match remaining in March after this weekend’s derby, slipping up here could spoil that run. They love playing derbies though:
1 – City have won six of the seven Cape derbies they have been involved in since they came into the top-flight. Their only defeat came to Stellenbosch in the bio-bubble in Gauteng.
That bio-bubble victory is one thing that will give Steve Barker’s men some hope. The second is their penchant for goals. Even if they are failing to win, Stellies have still been able to find the net in ten of their last twelve games. The third is Cape Town City’s defensive record. Only one team (bottom-club Leopards, 28) have conceded more goals than City all season (26).
Even if both teams fired blanks in their last games, that was probably an exception. Tuesday’s 0-0 draw was the first goalless draw Cape Town City have played out in the league since November 2019, when Riekerink’s first two games both ended 0-0. This means there were 34 successive league matches involving City that had ended with at least one goal, a Top 10 PSL era record.
Bloem Celtic v Maritzburg United
1 – Bloemfontein Celtic have now lost just one of the last 15 #DSTVPrem games they have played at home since the start of last year (W8 D6).
Chippa United v Orlando Pirates
9 – Pirates have won nine successive league matches against Chippa, their joint-longest winning run against a single opponent in PSL history (9 also v Arrows). A win will set a new Pirates record for successive wins against a single PSL opponent.
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By Opta Jabu