Absa Premiership: March in numbers

As far as the race for the Absa Premiership title and the battle to avoid relegation goes, there have been more questions than answers during the past month.

Up at the top, the mounting pressure appears to have resulted in inconsistency.

Pace setters Mamelodi Sundowns’ record for March reads: Played Four, Drawn Three, Won one: six points from 12.

Orlando Pirates (position 2): Played Four, Won two, Lost one, Drawn 1: seven points from 12.

Third placed Moroka Swallows have done the best of the chasing pack: the Birds have won two and drawn two: Eight points from 12.

Kaizer Chiefs, in fourth have picked up a win, a draw and a defeat from their three matches: four points from nine.

Fifth-placed SuperSport United have been the biggest losers in March, their title hopes now hanging in the balance after three draws and a loss – just one point from 12.

Down at the bottom it’s been the reverse case – Black Leopards and Jomo Cosmos are both finding some kind of momentum and are putting pressure on the likes of Santos, Maritzburg, Arrows and Platinum Stars, who have all been struggling for consistent form.

Wednesday night’s win for Lidoda Duvha over Santos in fact saw the teams swapping positions as the Cape side slipped into the relegation zone, with Leopards moving out for the first time in many months.

The Limpopo side have had a pretty good month, winning three and losing two of five games – nine points as this stage of the season being like gold.

Ezenkosi have ensured that they maintain a slim hope of staging a late charge to avoid the drop, thanks to the four points earned from their three matches in the last month.

In terms of entertainment, it’s been a fantastic month for South African soccer fans – in the Absa Premiership no result can be taken for granted.

We’ve seen a five goal thriller of a Soweto derby – indeed five games from a total of 31 have yielded five or more goals.

On the flip-side, some players appear to be clamming up when the pressure has been on: there have been no few than six goal-less draws, and all of those have come in the last two rounds of action.

Still, there has been a total of 69 Absa Premiership goals scored in March – a fairly healthy average of 2.23 goals per game.

From a striker’s point of view there have been some interesting developments during what is the business end of the season.

Leopards’ Mongezi Bobe has come to his side’s rescue at their hour of greatest need, with four goals during March. Edward Manqele has jumped to the top of the league’s scoring chards with his three, while Santos’ Eleazar Rodgers and AmaZulu’s Goodman Dlamini have also both grabbed three league goals apiece over the past month.

And with as many as five or six clubs still in with a title shout, and perhaps six sides still in and around the relegation zone, the last two months of action should be riveting.