As the PSL takes an indefinite break, FARPost and Opta Jabu will continue providing stats based articles on the current PSL season and past seasons.
Today, we look at the age profiles of PSL squads, to better measure which clubs have given the most opportunities to young players in the League.
The graph below shows the distribution of game time minutes to young players since the start of the season. Young players in this case are players that were 23 or younger on 4 August 2019, when the League’s opening game week was played.
Which clubs give more minutes to youth?
As seen below, SuperSport United lead the way for clubs that have trusted young players with League minutes this season, with 5728 minutes reserved for junior players. That is the equivalent of almost six full matches played with 11 players all under 23.
Coach Kaitano Tembo is the biggest champion of youth, having handed debuts to 18-year-olds like Oswin Appolis and 19-year-old Luke Fleurs this season. Fleurs has also started 10 matches this season, and he is yet to turn 20.
AmaZulu, Chippa United, Kaizer Chiefs and Baroka are other clubs that can be praised for exposing youth to the rigours of the topflight. Stellenbosch FC, Cape Town City and Orlando Pirates make the Top 8 for clubs entrusting top-flight minutes entrusted to U23 players.
This could all benefit Bafana Bafana in the future, who had the oldest average age at the start of the 2019 AFCON tournament.
Which clubs give less minutes to youth?
In comparison, Black Leopards have not given minutes to any players under 23 this season, and they are the only club yet to field an Under 23 player in the League. The youngest player that has featured for Leopards is Xolani Ndlovu (23y 8m & 28d at the start of the season).
Additionally, Bidvest Wits, Maritzburg United, Polokwane City and Mamelodi Sundowns are the only other side that have given less than 1000 minutes to young players.
Which young players feature most?
Further proof that SuperSport is really serious about giving youngsters minutes is seen in that Teboho Mokoena (1742 minutes) leads the way in League minutes for all young players, while Sipho Mbule (1421 minutes) is in fourth place.
Mokoena has missed just one match in the League this season (vs Sundowns). Below is the list of Top 10 young players who have featured the most in the League this season.
Bongokuhle Hlongwane is the youngest player to score this season, aged 19 years, 8 months and 10 days when he found the back of the net for Maritzburg in their 3-0 win over Stellenbosch.
By Opta Jabu