After covering the use of youth players last week, today we focus on overall player usage in SA’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) this season.
Some sides have utilised as few as 25 players, while others as much as 36, with others scattered in between. This is for league matches only.
There are six players that have played every single minute of every league game this season, probably the few that see league suspension as a blessing in disguise, giving them some time to rest.
Weirdly, all six players are defensive players, including one goalkeeper. Two of them play for SuperSport – Clayton Daniels and Ronwen Williams, who have contributed to a league high 11 clean sheets. The other four are Daniel Cardoso (Chiefs), Edmilson Dove (Cape Town City), Trevor Mathiane (Arrows) and Kelvin Moyo (Chippa United).
Dove is the youngest, celebrating his 25th birthday two weeks before the league began.
There is an even split in sides in how they have utilised players this season. Whereas half
the league has brought 30+ players onto the field of play in their campaigns this season, half
the league have played less than 30.
There is no real correlation between number of players used and league position, although six of the sides that use more than 30 players also find themselves in the bottom half of the table.
Highlands Park (8th in the league) and Pirates
(4th), are the exceptions.
36 – Baroka have experimented the most in the league this season, with 36 players taking
the field of play in their pursuit for league safety.
25 – SuperSport, on the other hand, have featured 25 players in the league this season, the fewest of all PSL teams.
Average Squad age = Total Age of Players Used / Total Number of players Used*.
The average age of the squad is found by dividing the total age of all players that have been used by the total number of players used. Using that formula, Baroka have the average
youngest squad that has featured this season (average 25,5 years), although this is
influenced by the high number of players they’ve featured, with a few younger players that have appeared a handful of times.
SuperSport (average 25,7 years), Arrows (26.3) and Cape Town City (26.5) make up the Top 4 for youngest squads.
28.1 – Sundowns (28.1) have played the average oldest squad in the league this season
(28.1), and are one of only two sides with an average age above 28 (Leopards (28.1).
It is important to note that there is nothing wrong with an average older squad, as team
squad profiles differ. Sundowns have been successful in the last few years, having won two
league titles in a row, and so have a core group of players to trust and build on.
Experience is also a positive aspect in squad management, as shown by how they have managed to get back into the title race recently (before Covid 19 struck, of course).
To get a fuller picture of squad utilisation, you can read the previous article on youth players, and upcoming squad profiles as well.
*All stats assume 90 minutes for a match.
RELATED STORY: STATS: Find out which PSL clubs give more minutes to youth
By Opta Jabu