Some joyous moments, some near-misses, some historic records and other proud feats, these are our top 10 moments of the past year, starting from 10 to six.
10. Jayiya’s record hat-trick
Goals in South Africa have become a rarity, while hat-tricks are very few and far between. Yet Cape Town City winger Bongolwethu Jayiya re-wrote the history books in a league encounter against Chippa United in April, netting the fastest hat-trick in PSL history as he tore the Chilli Boys’ defence to shreds. Finding the back of the net in the sixth, 10th and 16th minutes, the 10-minute treble was the fastest recorded in the PSL era as the Citizens ran out comfortable 4-1 winners at Athlone Stadium. Jayiya has since joined Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs.
9. Moeneeb’s 20 years in the game
Bidvest Wits goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs celebrated 20 years in the PSL in September, making him the longest serving player currently playing the game. The former Orlando Pirates player made his debut as a 17-year-old for Cape Town Spurs against African Wanderers. When he made his debut, his teammates Sanele Tshabalala, Kobamelo Kodisang and Reeve Frosler were not even born. The veteran shot stopper has won it all on South African soil and will go down as a legend of the local game.
8. Overseas moves
It’s often said locally-based players are in a comfort zone in the PSL, with a move away from our shores too daunting. Yet a handful of South Africans managed to secure a move to the unknown this year, starting with former Mamelodi Sundowns winger Keagan Dolly, who landed a contract with Ligue 1 outfit Montpellier in January. Manyama was highly coveted after a rip-roaring season with surprise package Cape Town City, yet turned down local offers for a move to Konyaspor in Turkey, while Wits’ attacking starlet Phakamani Mahlambi made history as he became the first South African to ply his trade in Egypt, signing for continental giants Al Ahly. Banyana Banyana stalwart Janine van Wyk also deserves a mention after securing a short-term contract with Houston Dash in the USA.
7. SuperSport’s maiden CAF final
It was a gruelling, 18-match campaign, yet SuperSport United did the country proud by making it all the way to this year’s CAF Confederation Cup final, the first continental final in their history. Traversing the continent with trips to Sudan, Liberia, Gabon, Guinea, DR Congo, Zambia and Tunisia, SuperSport recorded six wins and nine draws on their way to the final, where Democratic Republic of Congo giants TP Mazembe lay in wait. Losing 2-1 in Lubumbashi in the first leg, a goalless draw at home in the second leg was not enough as they were edged to the title by a single goal, yet were still widely praised for their efforts.
6. Ellis and Banyana’s Cosafa triumph
Interim coach Desiree Ellis made history as she led Banyana Banyana to their fourth Cosafa Cup crown, becoming the first South African to win the tournament both as a player and a coach. After securing two wins and a draw in the group stages, Banyana were 3-0 down in their semi-final against Zambia, before an unbelievable turnaround made it 3-3 as Banyana then secured a 5-3 penalty shootout victory to advance to the final. There they faced Zimbabwe, where goals from Thembi Kgatlana and Leandra Smeda ensured a 2-1 win as Ellis lifted the 2017 cup against the very same opponents she defeated in the 2002 final as a player. Banyana have earned themselves a CAF nomination for Women’s team of the year, while Kgatlana is in the running to win Women’s footballer of the year.