There has been a lot of talk of Benni McCarthy becoming the next Bafana Bafana coach, following the national team’s elimination from qualification for the 2022 tournament.
A lot of this conversation is driven by nostalgia (think Benni McCarthy and late 90s Bafana). But there is a significant part of the conversation that is driven by his current performances at AmaZulu. Judging on current form, McCarthy’s side are the country’s best team.
25 – No side has won more points in the top-fight this year than AmaZulu (25, Golden Arrows also 25).
However, this season, Swallows (Won 7 Drew 3 – 24 out of 30 points), Golden Arrows (W7 D3 – 24/30) and to a lesser extent SuperSport United (W6 D3 L1 – 22/30) have all enjoyed a run of games that portrays them as title challengers in some sense.
But one by one, all these sides have fallen by the wayside, allowing Mamelodi Sundowns to march on undefeated into the horizon.
AmaZulu (W7 D3 – 24/30) in the last ten games are that team right now. The question is – are they another “pretender” to the throne, or is the McCarthy backroom staff building something special. Initial evidence points to the latter.
28 – Usuthu have picked up 28 points from 14 league games since he joined the club, already the best 14-game run for the club at any point in their PSL history.
This places him at the top of AmaZulu coaches in the PSL era, in terms of their opening 15 games (a 57% win rate). He is guaranteed to have the best opening 15-game points haul & win rate for an AmaZulu coach whatever the outcome of the next match. Given that the next match is against bottom club Black Leopards today, they could go past the 30-point mark.
The month of March 2021 was only the second time in their PSL history where Usuthu played at least three league games in the same month and kept clean sheets in all of them.
The same happened in February 2013.
However, March 2021 is more significant for another reason:
100% – AmaZulu ended March with a 100% win record in the league (P3 W3), their best 100% record in a single PSL month since March 1999 (also P3 W3).
Now, the best performing team in the land comes face to face with the worst performing team. May 2019 is the last time Leopards scored a goal against AmaZulu, and even that was a penalty from Mwape Musonda.
17 – Leopards have scored against every other PSL team they have faced since then (17 different teams), except for AmaZulu. Despite picking points off runaway leaders Sundowns, Leopards are still rooted at the
bottom of the table with 13 points from 20 games. There are seven other sides in PSL
history that have collected 13 or less points after 20 games of a 30-game season, but only
one has survived the drop.
Four of the seven were automatically relegated, and two were relegated via the playoffs. If Leopards are to survive the season, they will have to do something only done once before in PSL history.
1 – 2015/16 Maritzburg United are the only team to survive relegation in a 30-game season having won 13 or less points with just ten games to play.
The other matche…
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By Opta Jabu