Last month, FIFA approved a temporary amendment that allows for clubs to have five substitutions per match.

The Bundesliga has already restarted, with the German league and teams taking advantage of this option. The Premier League, La Liga and Serie A will all have the option to use five subs when they restart their leagues this month.

And the expectation is that our own PSL would do the same. The rule change is meant to help teams manage players’ physical workload as they return to play after the enforced lay-off due to Covid-19, without a normal pre-season. But there will only be three windows in a match to make these subs, to reduce disruption.

From a tactical standpoint, this will be interesting because teams would be allowed to change half the outfield team. Will changing half a team result in games becoming less competitive? Will teams like Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs, who have deeper squads, enjoy an added advantage? Or will this allow more players a shot at first team football?

These are all questions that will be answered once the game resumes. We already know that most goals are scored in the period of games when players are tired, and perhaps we will also see a change in this goal scoring pattern.

23% – 23% of all PSL goals have been scored in the final 15 minutes of league matches this season, more than any other 15-minute period.

As always we’ve looked at the numbers on the patterns and trends from the 2019/20 in terms of other patterns and trends with substitutes.

Sub usage

71 – Stellenbosch, AmaZulu and Highlands Park have used 71 subs this season (out of a possible 72), the most of any PSL side this season. Together with Bidvest Wits (62/63), they are the only four sides who have left just one sub unused.

69 – Bloemfontein Celtic are the only club that have used every sub available to them in the league this season, making 3 subs in all 23 games they played.

12 – Golden Arrows lead the charts for unused subs this season, with 12 replacements left on the bench unused by Steve Komphela all season.

Impact subs

The league’s top scorer Gabadinho Mhango is also the joint-top scorer from the bench this season with two goals. Other impact subs include Kabelo Dlamini, Menzi Masuku and Gift Motupa, who have all scored twice coming off the bench.

7 – Celtic have also seen more goals scored by subs than any other PSL side this season, with seven.

0 – Chippa and AmaZulu are the only sides that have not yet had a goal scored by a sub this season. This is startling especially for AmaZulu, who are part of three teams that have used the most subs.

Timing of subs

Like Chiefs scoring from a set piece, Ernst Middendorp bringing on Dumisani Zuma as a half-time substitute has been a very common occurrence this season. Of the 22 games Chiefs have played, Zuma has come on at half-time on 11 occasions. That’s 50% of the games. This is probably a key contributor to Chiefs being the average fastest team to make their sub, at 46 minutes. The table below shows what time (on average) each team introduces their first sub.

6 – Dumisani Zuma coming on for Leonardo Castro is the most common substitution made this season, happening on six occasions.

On average, Pitso Mosimane is the most patient of coaches before making a change. Sundowns average 1st sub comes in the 62nd minute. Perhaps, with five subs to be allowed in the near future, this may start to change.

RELATED STORY: Five substitutions per team permitted

By Opta Jabu

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