Season 25. Episode 30.
The final episode of the 25th PSL season rolls out today, with a few niggling matters still to be resolved.
One major storyline has been of a dominant Mamelodi Sundowns, who became the first team to end a PSL season without losing away from home this past week. Another storyline has been of a dormant Kaizer Chiefs, who will end off a tough season without the guidance of Gavin Hunt, released from his duties just over a week ago.
We dug through the numbers to preview this weekend’s fixtures, with a particular focus on the matches where Top 8 and relegation are at stake.
Sundowns are confirmed as CAF Champions League participants next season, alongside AmaZulu (for now). If Kaizer Chiefs go on to win the CAF Champions League next season, then Chiefs would take AmaZulu’s place in the competition. This could also have repercussions for the third placed team, with Orlando Pirates and Golden Arrows still in contention for the coveted spot. That said, Pirates are currently favorites for third, and need only a draw against TTM to seal it.
49 – Pirates have won 49 points from 29 league games this season (W13 D10 L6), the exact same record and points tally as this stage last season (also W13 D10 L6).
If the trend is to continue, Pirates won their 30th game last season.
Top 8 Permutations
Seven sides have sealed their place in the Top 8, with three clubs still in contention for the final place. What has been dubbed as the Top8 playoff ‘final’ sees Chiefs travel to TS Galaxy in search of a win that will also secure their spot for the season. Amakhosi need nothing but a win to pip The Rockets into 8th, while the hosts only need a point to achieve the same. Ironically, it would be Chiefs’ 8th win of the season if they end up securing 8th.
1 – Only one team has ever qualified for the Top 8 having won less than 8 games in a PSL campaign.
That was Santos in 2005/6, who won seven games. However, they only lost six games that season – and managed to draw 17 games, a joint-record that was only broken by Swallows FC this season.
Mathematically, Baroka can still make the Top 8 as well, but on two conditions:
Chiefs must beat TS Galaxy. Baroka must beat Swallows, and better Chiefs’ win by 5 goals.
The celebrations may be shortlived, however. 8th place will also qualify the team for the daunting task of facing Sundowns in the MTN8 quarter-finals next season. It may not be a problem for Chiefs, who have been the only team to get the better of Sundowns over 90 minutes this year. However, Chiefs have a mixed record on the last day:
50% – In the last decade, Chiefs have won 50% of league matches played on the last day (P10 W5 D2 L3).
With Black Leopards relegated, Chippa United and Stellenbosch provide the final storyline at the bottom end of the table. They will both take to the field knowing that they can still be dragged into the relegation playoffs. Chippa need to beat SuperSport (a draw will not be enough) – and also hope Stellenbosch drop points away to Golden Arrows.
0 – Since their promotion last season, Stellenbosch have not won an away match in KZN, drawing two and losing three games in the province.
That may need to change today.
By Opta Jabu