Sat 26 June 2021 | 4:30

Top Ten Clubs of the South African Premier Division

Reading about famous clubs has always been amongst attractive topics related to football. In the following article, we will present a list of the top ten clubs of the South African Premier Division.

Being officially called the DStv Premiership for Sponsorship reasons, the South African Premier Division is a professional football league for South African men. Amongst African football league system, it has placed the highest division, that through today's article, we have presented a list of top ten clubs of it, besides a brief introduction for each of them. Being at the top level of association football in South Africa has caused the division to be referred to as the Premier Soccer League, in short PSL.

The National Soccer League and the remnants of the National Professional Soccer League agreed on the league's foundation in 1996. Though they had started it with 18 teams, to beware fixture jam reduced it to 16. Because of their decision, they disbanded two clubs, Ria Stars and Free State Stars, at the end of the 2001-01 season. Two years later, in 2004, a match-fixing disgrace shook South African football.

The scandal led to an investigation, named 'Operation Dribble,' that the South African police launched in June 2004. Following the operation, they arrested more than 40 people, ranging from match commissioners to bosses, referees, and their assistants. By signing a television deal with SupeSport, PSL recorded the biggest sporting deal which South Africa has ever had in its history.

The R1.6-billion worth, in terms of commercial broadcast deals, of the contract, placed the Premier Division into the top 15 ranked leagues. In 2007, they got a new sponsor, ABSA, which replaced Castle Lager.

During the next three consecutive years, the SuperSport left a brilliant performance from itself on its history, winning a hat-trick of titles. On 24 September 2020, following the PSL chairman's announcement, he introduced DStv, the new sponsor. Irvin Khoza mentioned the news on a broadcast live on SuperSport Blitz that its PSL channels dedicated it. 

An Overview on the Top Ten Clubs of the South African Premier Division

After reading a brief overview regarding the league in the introduction section, it is time to go through details of the top ten clubs of the South African Premier Division. Keep reading till the end to get fantastic facts about the clubs. 

Ajax Cape Town

Ajax Cape Town is the former name of the club, known as

Cape Town Spurs

F.C. now. Located in Parow in Cape Town, the South African professional football club plays in the National First Division. In January 1999, through a merger of Cape Town Spurs and Seven Stars, Dutch Eredivise club AFC Ajax became their parent and owned majority shareholder. However, after 21 years, in 2020, it sold the shares. 

The team appears for its home competitions at Cape Town Stadium. Taking a look at the past of the club reveals a brilliant history since its foundation in 1970. Before the South African Premier Division's establishment, the club had competed in the National Professional Soccer League from 1971 to 1984.

Additionally, they appeared in the National Soccer League between 1985 and 1996, which through their playing in the latter, they won the championship in the fin season. Ajax Cape Town has spent four years, from 2002 to 2006, under Gordon Igesund's coaching.

Igesund was the former coach of the South Africa national team, which his career history convince why all know him as the country's most successful club coach. Though


ended being runners-up in 2003-04, 2007-08, and 2010-11, it has never succeeded in achieving the league title. After passing many successes and failures, through ending their association with AFC Ajax, they renamed the club to Cape Town Spurs in 2020.

Moroka Swallows

Moroka Swallows, often known as Swallows or The Birds, is one of the other South African clubs, which its name is amongst the professional ones. Based in Soweto in Johannesburg, in Gauteng province, Swallows has placed its name beside Orlando Pirates as the two original clubs in Soweto. 

Ishmael Lesolang, Strike Makgatha, and Johnny Kubheka were three soccer lovers who founded Swallows in the 1940s. Before setting

Moroka Swallows

as the club's name in 1947, the three founders had named it Congregated Rovers and then Moroka overs. 

Since its foundation, the 1950s and the 1960s were two successive periods, which winning the South African League title in 1965 has been the most notable achievement for the club. Having relegation in the 2014-15 season, Swallows bought the franchise of National First Division team Maccabi for R8 million before starting the 2018-19 season and took part in the following season in National Firs Division. 

Swallows finished the match against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila F.C. in a 3-0 victory at the end of the 2019-2020 National First Division season. Their winning will lead them to appear in the 2020-21 South African Premi Division. 

Bloemfontein Celtic

The other name amongst the 

top ten South African teams ranked by points


Bloemfontein Celtic

, a South African professional football club in Bloemfontein. Often known as Celtic, the club takes part in the DStv Premiership, the first tier of the South African football league system. The club owns many fans in the Free State, famous as Siwelele, and appears for its home matches in Dr. Petrus Molemela Stadium. 

Norman Mathobisa and Victor Mahatane founded the club in 1969 and continued as its managers till the early 1980s, that financial challenges caused them to sell it to Petrus "Whitehead" Molemela. However, following their relegation of Phunya Sele Sele, Molemela sold it to one of the former Celtic players, Demetri "Jimmy" Augousti.

Afterward, it seemed that the club had passed its not successful era that could recapture its PSL status by presenting a great season in 2003-04 while they had been only three years out of the top-flight. Within the same season, they became the First Division Champions and could achieve the 2005 SAA Supa 8 and the 2007 Telkom Charity Cup. 

Through a partnership with Sporting CP, a Portuguese club, they founded a youth academy in the capital of the Free State. Since 21 July 2014, Max Tshabalala, the current Roses United owner, has taken over the club from Augousti.

Manning Rangers

Another name among the 

top ten clubs of the South African Premier Division

 belongs to Manning Rangers, which now is a defunct South African football club. Winning the championship of the Inaugural season of South Africa's Premier Soccer League is the feature that these days most remember the club by it. 

Naidoo, the man who played the role of the side's goalkeeper and later became a referee, founded the club in 1928. After entrance to the South African Soccer League in the middle of the 1960s, Manning Rangers could move from Curries Fountain to Chatsworth.

Finally, in 1991, it enrolled in the 1st Division of the NSL, the National Soccer League. Despite all these achievements, the club announced its bankruptcy in 2006. The failure led to several changes to its ownership and name. Having bought the club, Fidentia Group chose a new name for the side, Fidentia Rangers, and moved it from Durban to Cape Town. 

As one of the most prominent eras in the team's history, in the 1996-97 season of the Premier Soccer League, they stunned everybody by the record they left, and through 74 points made themselves champions ahead of the most prominent clubs, including Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates.

It was a feat that never happened to them again. In 1998-99, in which the team had represented South Africa in the African Champions Cup, they lost the match to ASEC Abidjan of Cote d'Ivoire. 

Engen Santos

The following side on the list of top ten clubs of the South African Premier Division is the one that almost knows them under the title of their sponsor, Engen Santos. Located in a suburb of Cape Town city, Lansdowne, Santos is a South African professional football club that takes part in the SAFA Second Division.

The feature of non-racial inclusivity of the side had earned them the 'People's Team' nickname and made them the only football body with this characteristic in the country from 1982 to 1990. After winning the championship six times from 1983 to 1990, Santos joined National Soccer League.

Later, in 1996, the NSL turned to PSL, which earned a great promotion to Santos. Tough 2001-02 was their first taste in the new form of the league they achieved the title. Bob Save Super Bowl and BP Top 8 are two other of their achievements during the same season. Despite their brilliant performance, they experience relegation from the PSL for the first time at the end of the 2011-12 season. Santos currently appears in the Western Cape ABC Mostsepe League.  

Bidvest Wits

One of the other top ten clubs of the South African Premier Division is Bidvest Wits. Due to the team's close affiliation with the University of the Witwatersrand, the side became famous as the 'The Clever Boys' or 'The Students' nicknames.

Almost known as Wits University F.C. or Wits,

Bidvest Wits

was a South African professional football club that takes part in the first-tier in the South African league football system. Coming from Wits University in Johannesburg, the side appeared in several tournaments and leagues, which eventually caused them to earn promotion to the National Football League and then to South Africa's top domestic one.

Most recall the club during the 1970s as a suitable place to produce some of the most outstanding players in South Africa. One of them is Gary Bailey, the goalkeeper who played for Manchester United and England. The other one is Richard Gough, who appeared in Dundee United, Rangers, Everton, and Scotland.

Achieving the Mainstay Cup after is their first notable achievement refers to 1978, which they could earn through their victory against Kaizer Chiefs in the final of the competition. Their success continued in the 1980s, including BP Top 8 and placing 6th in the inaugural NSL season in 1985. As one of the most outstanding seasons in Bidvest Wits history, they ended the 2016-17 season with 18 winnings, six draws, and six losses. 

SuperSport United

Another name on the list of 

top ten clubs of the South African Premier Division

 belongs to SuperSport, which the South African group of television channels own.


, which plays in the Dstv Premiership, is famous as 'Matsatsantsa a Pitori' amongst its supporters.

In 1994, the club got a new owner, M-Net, and following its approval from the NationalSoccer League, the side gained a new name. In addition to comprising a professional football team, SuperSport includes several youth academy teams in the SuperSport United Academy that appear in their SAFA structure.

The outstanding players that the club trains in the academy prove why it is one of the best in the country. Daine Klate, Kermit Erasmus, Ronwen Williams are three successful graduates from Port Elizabeth and Kamohelo Mokotjo, been linked with prominent clubs in the football world, English Premier League side, 




, a Dutch one. 

Though the team regularly appears in its home matches at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville, it has recently taken part in many competitions in the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane. 

Kaizer Chiefs 

Now, it is time to introduce the second team on the list regarding the top ten clubs of the South African Premi Division,

Kaizer Chiefs

. The South African professional football club has a nickname, Amakhosi, which its meaning refers to Phfeni Glamour Boys, meaning 'Lords' or ' Chiefs' in Zulu.

During the club's history, they have achieved 13 league titles, that four out of 13 refers to the PSL era, and gained more than 50 club trophies. With about 14,873 attendances during the 2018-19 season, they became the second-highest club in the league. 

The rivalry relationship between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates is so famous, which Chiefs' founder once was a Pirates player. Due to the club's withdrawal from taking part in the 2005 Confederation Cup, African Football (CAF) did not allow them to play in African club competitions till 2009.

However, it was not their first penalize. The Chiefs, which celebrated their 50th-anniversary last year, spent its most successful season, as well as the most tragic one. Meanwhile, they achieved four trophies within four months, including the Vodacom Challenge, the BP Top Eight, the Coca-Cola Cup, and the African Cup Winners' Cup.

Unfortunately, on 11 April 2001, the death of 43 fans within the Soweto Derby between Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, their arch-rivals, made it the most painful season for the club. 

Orlando Pirates

Usually called as Pirates, Orlando Pirates has placed second amongst the top ten clubs of the South African Premier Division. The team participates in the top-tier system of Football in South Africa, named Premier Soccer League. The club's name, Pirates,' comes from the 1940 film The Sea Hawk, which Errol Flynn played in the movie. 

Since Premier Soccer League's beginning in 1996,

Orlando Pirates

has been the first club that achieved three awards in only one single season consecutively. The domestic league ABSA Premiership, the FA Cup Nedbank Cup, and the Top 8 Cup MTN 8 within the ABSA Premiership 2010–11 season, and domestic league ABSA Premiership, the League Cup Telkom Knockout, and the Top 8 Cup MTN 8 during the ABSA Premiership 2011–12 season are some of their awards.

Through their honors, they have placed themselves second amongst the top ten clubs in South Africa. They are one of only two South African teams that could gain the CAF Champions League. They are also the runners-up of the 2015 CAF Confederation Cup. One of the other top features of the Orlando Pirates is the number of their attendance, 14.533, which made the team the second highest in the league. 

Mamelodi Sundowns

The first place amongst the 

top ten clubs of the South African Premier Division

 belongs to

Mamelodi Sundowns

. The professional club plays in the first tier of the South African football league system in the Premier Soccer League.

The prominent team has recorded winning the league title 11 times in its history, which caused it to become the record holder of the highest number of titles. As the current most flourishing club and the biggest one since 2004, they became the 2016 CAF Champions League champions and 2016 CAF Club of the Year.

Taking a look at the club's achievement reveals many honors, one of them is winning the Nedbank Cup that they earned four times. Through performing a brilliant and outstanding performance, Mamelodi Sundowns made themselves deserve to be the first South African team that competed in the FIFA Club World Cup and gained 6th place.

In African football history, Sundowns has been the club with the most number of league titles. Nicknamed Brazilians, Sundowns have gotten it due to their soccer kit color, blue and yellow, which matches with Brazil's national team jersey. 

Despite our team's effort in Sportmob to mention all related data around the top ten South African teams ranked by points, we might have missed some. We welcome any views that you share through the comment section.

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