Soccer Knowledge.....

Local knowledge

Kaizer Chiefs

The country's favorite club soccer side never seems to play an away match - Kaizer Chiefs draw more supporters at away games than their opposition home teams!

Founded by Kaizer Motaung, who made his name in the United States when the American league was drawing such superstars as Pele, Johan Cruyff and Franz Beckenbauer, Chiefs have proved to be one of South Africa's most successful teams, and in 2002 secured their first ever African title when they won the Cup Winners Cup, renamed after former South African President Nelson Mandela, by defeating Inter Luanda of Angola in the final.

Orlando Pirates

Orlando Pirates are the oldest soccer team in South Africa and its support base extends across the country's borders.

Pirates are the only South African team so far to have won Africa's premier club competition, the Champions League, a feat they achieved in 1995. They are also one of only three teams that have won the South African Premier Soccer League since its launch in 1997, securing the title in 2000/01 and 2002/03.

Like Chiefs, Pirates seldom are disadvantaged when they play away from home, with fanatical supporters spread throughout South Africa.

Premier Soccer League (PSL)

South Africa's most important club soccer league came into being in 1997 with Manning Rangers, coached by Gordon Igesund, stunning all and sundry by winning the title ahead of a number of more fancied opponents. From 1998 to 2000 the league was dominated by Sundowns, who pulled off a hat-trick of titles.

In 2001, Igesund moved to Orlando Pirates and helped the Buccaneers secure the title. The following season he moved to Cape Town-based Santos, and steered it to win the league title, thus becoming the first coach to win the championship with three different clubs.

The PSL has helped raise the standard of club football in South Africa, providing the sport with better media coverage and much-improved revenue through strong sponsorship deals. It has also provided a platform for local players to make their mark and catch the eye of overseas clubs.

Soccer Travel Packages

Previous Castle Premiership winners:

  • 1996-1997: Manning Rangers

  • 1997-1998: Sundowns

  • 1998-1999: Sundowns

  • 1999-2000: Sundowns

  • 2000-2001: Orlando Pirates

  • 2001-2002: Santos

  • 2002-2003: Orlando Pirates.

Knockout competitions

There are a number of knockout competitions that are played alongside the league fixtures.

The Bobsave Superbowl was soccer's premier knockout competition, giving clubs from lower leagues the opportunity to face the more fancied clubs from the Premier League. No lower league team yet has managed to capture the silverware, but the competition has provided a remarkable 11 winners in the 12 years it has been held. Only Moroka Swallows, with victories in 1989 and 1991, have managed to win the title more than once.

This has since been replaced by the Absa Cup, after First National Bank withdrew its sponsorship of the competition at the end of 2001. The inaugural Absa Cup was won by Santos in 2002.

Other knockout competitions include the SAA Supa 8 competition, which replaced the long-running BP-sponsored Top Eight. The competition is contested at the beginning of the PSL season by the teams that finished in the top eight bracket in the previous season. Jomo Cosmos are the current holders of the SAA Supa 8 Cup.

The Coca-Cola Cup is another competition that features all the 16 top flight teams on a knockout basis. This is one of the lucrative competitions in the Premier League, with the winners pocketing $100 000.00 in prize money.

Lower Leagues

The First Division does not enjoy as much media coverage as the Premier League, but is sizeable, with 30 teams divided into a Coastal Stream and an Inland Stream. The winners of the two streams earn promotion to the Premier League, while the bottom two finishers in the top flight are demoted.

There are plans, which are reportedly at an advanced stage, to amalgamate the First Division into a single league with 16 to 18 teams from the 2004/2005 season.

The Second Division is made up of 18 teams, consisting of the top two finishers of nine regional competitions played around South Africa. The Third Division is a massive league played on a regional basis, and it is from this division that the Second Division clubs come.

 

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