We reflect upon the highlights, and some lowlights, from the local soccer scene over the past 12 months, thanks to the official PSL.
• It does not go well for Bafana Bafana in Equatorial Guniea as they are eliminated after the group phase at the 2015 African Cup of Nations.
• The PSL holds historic safety and security workshops at various workshops across the country where discussions are centered around improving safety standards at domestic football matches, assisting club security officers, event organisers and other role players to be better equipped in dealing with all safety components at matches.
• January is also about the transfer window, with some big-name signings made. SuperSport complete several major acquisitions including New Zealand international striker Jeremy Brockie, Kingston Nkhatha from Kaizer Chiefs, as well as Daine Klate on loan.
Platinum Stars also do some significant business, including Tlou Segolela, Bryce Moon and Punch Masenamela. Orlando Pirates sign goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane and defender Tshepo Gumede from Platinum Stars.
• Kosta Papic, coach of Polokwane City and Thabo Mnyamane, University of Pretoria striker, are named as the Absa Premiership Coach and Player of the Month respectively.
• Cuthbert Malajila and Pitso Mosimane win the Premier Soccer League’s Player of the Month and Coach of the Month respectively, for February/March.
• Free State Stars, and former Golden Arrows and Mamelodi Sundowns marksman Richard Henyekane, is tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident on April 7.
Bafana Bafana and South African football legend John Shoes Moshoeu dies on 21 April 2015 at the Morningside Hospital after a long battle with illness.
• Stuart Baxter and Lerato Lamola scoop Coach and Player of the Month for April.
• Roger De Sa underlines the turnaround he has affected at Ajax Cape Town by taking the Urban Warriors to the Nedbank Cup final, but they lose out to Mamelodi Sundowns via a penalty shoot-out in PE.
• Kaizer Chiefs are crowned as the 2015 Absa Premiership champions, beating Sundowns to the title by 12 points. AmaZulu are automatically demoted to the NFD after finishing last, later to be joined by Moroka Swallows.
• Golden Arrows are the NFD champions as Shaun Bartlett takes the club back to the top flight after just one season. Black Leopards and Jomo Cosmos make the play-offs, while Garankuwa United and Maluti FET College are relegated from the NFD.
• Chiefs defender, Tefu Mashamaite claims top honours at the Premier Soccer League Awards held at the Sandton Convention Centre, winning 2014/15 Footballer of the Season, Absa Premiership Player’s Player of the Season and the Absa Premiership Defender of the Season.
Moeketsi Sekola (Free State Stars) and Phumelele Bhengu are the top scorers in the Absa Premiership and NFD respectively.
• Cosmos triumph in a three way play-off with Moroka Swallows and Leopards to secure promotion back to the top flight after just one season.
• Former Maritzburg United coach Steve Komphela takes over from Stuart Baxter as the new Kaizer Chiefs head coach.
Mbombela United and Mthatha Bucks make it through to the final of the ABC Motsepe League play-offs in Kimberley, meaning both clubs are promoted to the NFD.
• The transfer window is in full swing, major signings including Prince Nxumalo (Ajax), Nazeer Allie, Daine Klate , Elias Pelembe (all Bidvest Wits), Mark Mayambela, Lerato Manzini and Ariste Bance (Chippa), Tendai Ndoro and Gift Motupa (Pirates), Siyanda Xulu, Daniel Cardoso, Camaldine Abraw, Bongani Ndulula (Kaizer Chiefs), Dove Wome (SuperSport).
• The new league season kicks off in the Absa Premiership and the NFD, as does the 2015 MTN8 competition. Ajax play Chiefs in the MTN8 final in Port Elizabeth, the Cape side edging out 1-0 winners thanks to a Nathan Paulse penalty.
• Black Aces coach Muhsin Ertugral wins the Premiership Coach of the Month while Ajax Cape Town’s Prince Nxumalo is Player of the Month after top scoring with three goals.
• Orlando Pirates advance to the 2015 CAF Confederation Cup final after beating Al Ahly 4-3 (5-3 on aggregate) at the Suez Army Stadium.
Ajax defender Cecil Lolo tragically dies in a motor vehicle accident on October 26.
Cavin Johnson, head coach of Platinum Stars and Collins Mbesuma, the Mpumalanga Black Aces striker, scoop the Coach and Player of the Month accolades.
• Pirates put up a brave fight in the 2015 CAF Confederation Cup final, but lose 2-1 on aggregate to Étoile du Sahel, having drawn 1-1 in Orlando before losing 1-0 away in Tunisia.
• The year ends well for South African football when the national U23 side sneak past hosts Senegal to finish in third spot at the U23 African Cup of Nations, thereby qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.
• Mamelodi Sundowns win the 2015 Telkom Knockout final, putting in a five star showing to outshine Chiefs 3-1 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
Sundowns also end the year atop of the Absa Premiership standings. Baroka FC meanwhile lead the National First Division race.