Ready for the DStv Premiership re-start

DStv Premiership Trophy © BackpagePix

The DStv Premiership is due to re-start on Friday, a few days later than originally schedule after the Premier Soccer League postponed midweek fixtures due to Bafana Bafana’s late arrival back from the Africa Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast.

And so 48 days will have passed between Cape Town City’s 2-0 derby win over Cape Town Spurs on New Year’s eve and the meeting between SuperSport United and Stellenbosch FC later this week.

For those that may have forgotten, this is where we sit in the 2023/24 campaign.


With the three ‘free’ points they received after Moroka Swallows failed to honour their fixture in late December, Mamelodi Sundowns now hold a nine-point lead over Cape Town City and SuperSport United, and also have two games in hand.

Two draws in their final three games to end 2023 blotted their superb season a little, but the reality is that Sundowns will remain unbeaten in 38 DStv Premiership matches (W30 D8) spanning an incredible 534 days by the time they host Orlando Pirates on Saturday.

Sundowns last lost in the league at SuperSport on September 2, 2022, when they went down 2-1.

Only the most optimistic of rival fans will believe they can be reeled in, but Pirates could set the tone for a collapse if they win at the weekend. That would move them to within 10 points of Sundowns, but also having played two games more.

The reality is that it would take something extraordinary for Sundowns to be knocked off their perch this season – not only for them to go on a massive losing streak, but also for the chasing pack to find the consistency to make up the ground.


The most likely aim for those clubs behind them is to win the second CAF Champions League spot, which is given to the runner-up in the league. Third place gets entry to the less glamorous CAF Confederation Cup.

The race for those spots is fairly wide open and you would think between five clubs. Cape Town City (29 points, +7 goal-difference) currently hold second spot, but SuperSport (29, +3) are right there with them.

New Carling Knockout champions Stellenbosch FC (26, +5) are having a fine league campaign too and will hope this long break had not halted their momentum.

Orlando Pirates (25, +4) and Kaizer Chiefs (24, +4) are lurking too and the latter in particular were just beginning to find form before the break.


If we assume that the six clubs mentioned above will all finish somewhere in the top eight, that leaves two more slots for MTN8 qualification.

Golden Arrows have 23 points, but just four separate AmaZulu in eighth place and Royal AM in 14th, and any of those clubs could be in the mix.

You wonder how Royal AM’s transfer ban may affect them in the second half of the season, or now Moroka Swallows will pick up the pieces following their off-field issues.

TS Galaxy are another who could make a big push after a successful camp in Turkey and with a very good coach in Sead Ramovic.


Richards Bay and Cape Town Spurs are currently cut adrift in the bottom two and unless they can drastically improve their form, will remain there.

The KwaZulu Natal side have 13 points, five behind Royal AM in safety, while Spurs have only four after one win, a draw and 14 defeats in their first 16 games this season.

Their only hope really is to try and overhaul Richards Bay and take their chances in the playoffs but must somehow make up the nine points that separate the two sides.

With the worst attack and the worst defence in the league, that will take some doing.


Cape Town City’s Khanyisa Mayo and Sundowns’ Lucas Ribeiro head the Golden Boot race with seven goals each, one more than SuperSport’s Bradley Grobler, AmaZulu’s Augustine Kwem and Tshegofatso Mabasa, who has returned to Pirates after spending the first six months of the campaign on loan at Swallows.

Peter Shalulile has only four league goals so far this season, so watch out for him firing in the second half of the campaign if he can stay injury-free.


Sundowns play Pirates this weekend, host local rivals SuperSport on March 30 and must go to Kaizer Chiefs towards the end of the season in late April.

They have a tricky finish too, travelling to Stellenbosch FC on the penultimate day of the campaign and then hosting Cape Town City to wrap up their fixtures. They must therefore still play all the teams immediately below them.

Chiefs take on Pirates in the Soweto Derby on March 9 and after that travel to Cape Town City on March 30.

Pirates finish their season at home to SuperSport on May 25 in a clash that could have huge significance on the CAF competition places.