20 sea­sons and count­ing

Kick Off Yearbook - - ED’S LETTER - Nick Said Year­book Editor

Welcome to the 20th Edi­tion of the an­nual SA soc­cer bi­ble, the KICK Offyear­book. Launched to mark the start of the Premier Soc­cer League in 1996, we are proud that, just like the League it­self, we have stood the test of time and re­main rel­e­vant, vi­brant and strong.

All your reg­u­lar favourites are present and cor­rect, mak­ing this the most de­tailed, com­pre­hen­sive and trust­wor­thy col­lec­tion of facts and sta­tis­tics per­tain­ing to South African football.

As we sur­vey the early weeks of the 2015/16 sea­son, a few note­wor­thy re­marks:

Af­ter the dom­i­nance of Kaizer Chiefs, Or­lando Pi­rates and Mamelodi Sun­downs over the past few sea­sons, per­haps the ‘Big Three’ will not have it all their own way in 2015/16. For var­i­ous rea­sons, all three have made a slow start to the new cam­paign and it looks as though this may be a much more open ti­tle race than we are used to see­ing.

The fact that clubs like Bid­vest Wits and Su­pers­port United have looked to the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket shows their abil­ity to at­tract ‘in­ter­na­tional’ play­ers, another sign that the dom­i­nance of the Big Three is be­ing chal­lenged.

It also sug­gests, how­ever, that some clubs have made a con­scious de­ci­sion to move away from the lo­cal mar­ket due to in­flated trans­fer fees.

As you page through this Year­book, you will no­tice more free agent moves and loan trans­fers than pre­vi­ously; a trend which we sug­gest will con­tinue due to broader eco­nomic pres­sures be­sides the in­flated na­ture of the in­ter­nal player mar­ket.

The rel­e­ga­tion of two es­tab­lished ‘grand old clubs,’ Moroka Swal­lows and Amazulu also points to shifts in the sta­tus quo, and serves as a warn­ing that no club, no mat­ter how fa­mous has the right to suc­cess, or even top-flight sur­vival.

It is also a re­minder to clubs of the im­por­tance of find­ing the right bal­ance be­tween out­lay and in­come; and of the need to build a bal­anced play­ing squad too.

Look on page 25 for the player stats of that most suc­cess­ful of clubs Kaizer Chiefs (see pages 68 and 70).You will no­tice how many of their play­ers have played in ex­cess of 150 matches.this ex­pe­ri­ence is bal­anced with a younger crop (too many oldies, or too many kids, and you end up in Swal­lows’ po­si­tion).

The Mul­tichoice Diski Chal­lenge (see pages 44-47) has been a great step for­ward, pro­vid­ing a gen­uinely com­pet­i­tive re­serve league where Premier­ship clubs can groom their next gen­er­a­tion.

We thank Mul­tichoice for their gen­er­ous spon­sor­ship of this edi­tion of theyear­book, and laud their con­tri­bu­tion to the on­go­ing de­vel­op­ment and suc­cess of our football.

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