The Premier Soccer League (PSL) is relatively new, but some of the clubs currently in it are way older than the league itself.
Back in 1996, the National Soccer League (NSL) made way for the PSL which, in its inaugural season, was won by Manning Rangers – a now-defunct club from Durban, formed in 1928.
Since then, six more clubs have enjoyed top honours in the league – five of them still in the top tier of South African soccer.
Which is the oldest PSL club?
Following the demise of Bidvest Wits – founded in 1921 – we are counting down (or up) from the youngest to the oldest PSL clubs currently in the top flight.
Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila
Club chairman: Masala Malaudzi
The man who once owned Tshakhuma Zebra Forces now owns what was the oldest franchise in South African football – that of Bidvest Wits.
The Limpopo businessman, a former footballer himself, bought the franchise, their league status as well as their club’s entire squad, and his TTM, as his club is known will compete in the top flight just three years after acquiring the Milano United franchise.
Cape Town City
Club chairman: John Comitis, Michel Comitis
In human terms, Cape Town City are still toddlers in the PSL but have already bagged two trophies since the club was founded in 2016.
An earlier incarnation of the club – complete with similar colours – existed in the 1960s, and was resurrected when father and son duo, John and Michel Comitis bought Mpumalanga Black Aces, jumping straight into the top flight on their first season, where they finished an impressive third.
Cape Town City was not the only club from the Western Cape springing up from nowhere in 2016, as the sale of first-division outfit Vasco da Gama to Remgro – owned by the controversial Johann Rupert – was approved by the PSL shortly before the 2016/17 season.
Stellenbosch earned their path from the second tier of SA soccer the legitimate way, securing promotion to the top flight, where they finished a respectable tenth in their debut season.
Club chairman: Tim Sukazi
TS Galaxy rose to the top flight in an unconventional manner, purchasing the league status of Highlands Park shortly before the 2020/21 was due to commence.
During their time in the first division, the Rockets did the unthinkable, beating Kaizer Chiefs in the Nedbank Cup final to become the first club from the lower leagues to win the prestigious trophy.
Club chairman: Siviwe “Chippa” Mpengesi
Chippa United was formed when businessman Siviwe “Chippa” Mpengesi purchased Mbekweni Cosmos from Paarl, and the club began life in the Mother City, gaining promotion from the third tier to the first division in its second year of existence.
The Chilli Boys spent just one season in the second tier before being promoted to the PSL in 2012.
In 2014 the club relocated to Port Elizabeth, where it currently operates with Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium as its home ground.
Club chairman: Khurishi Mphahlele
Unlike City, Baroka have had to climb up to the big time the conventional way, and it’s been a remarkable rise, considering that the club was only formed in 2007.
Chairman: Khulu Sibiya
Supersport United was formed when the broadcast giant of the same name bought Pretoria City in 1994.
The club has gone on to become one of the most successful outfits locally, winning three league titles. Only the traditional “big three” of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns have won more.
Chairman: David Thidiela
Black Leopards first made an entry into the top flight in the 2001/2002 season, but the club had been around since the early 1980s.
Club chairman: Farouk Kadodia
Maritzburg United have been around since 1979, only gaining promotion into the top flight in 2005.
Club chairman: Patrice Motsepe
In terms of league titles in the PSL era, Mamelodi Sundowns are the most successful clubs in the land with no less than eight, and are a fair shot away from a record ninth.
The club was formed in 1970 and has gone on to attain unprecedented success, and is one of only two South African outfits to earn a star on its crest via winning the Caf Champions League.
Club chairman: Kaizer Motaung
When legendary Orlando Pirates striker Kaizer Motaung returned from a stint in the United States – where he represented a club by the name of Atlanta Chiefs – he would change the face of South African soccer forever.
On 7 January 1970, Kaizer Chiefs was formed and would go on to form a fierce rivalry with “Chincha Guluva’s” old club – also going on to become the country’s most successful club with 53* major trophies.
Club chairman: Max Tshabalala
Formed in 1969, Bloemfontein Celtic is one of the older clubs currently operating in the PSL.
Phunya Sele Sele was founded by Norman Mathobisa and Victor Mahatane, and has had several owners in its 50 years, including Dr Petrus Molemela and ex-player Jimmy Augousti.
The fourth oldest club in the PSL is Moroka Swallows, who are back in the top flight after five years out in the wilderness.
The Dube Birds bought their way back into the first division after a drastic slide into the third tier of South African football via back-to-back relegation.
They climbed back up into the big time the legitimate way, however, outplaying Ajax Cape Town in the final two matches of the season to gain promotion on the final day.
Lamontville Golden Arrows
Club chairman: Mato Madlala
Abafana Besthende may have one top flight trophy to show for their troubles, but the club sure has been around.
Golden Arrows’ finest moment came in 2009 when they routed Ajax Cape Town in the 2009 MTN 8 final, winning 6-0 to claim their only piece of silverware to date.
Club chairman: Dr Irvin Khoza
Formed in 1937 as the Orlando Boys Club, “Ezimnyama Ngenkani” came to be known as Pirates later.
The club is among the most successful in the country, with a vast list of honours, including the 1995 African Champions League title.
To date, the Buccaneers have won four* PSL titles, and are in pole position to add to that number at the end of the 2018/19 season.
Club chairman: Patrick Sokhela
After Wits’ demise, AmaZulu are now the oldest club in the PSL still in existence, and have one league title – which came in 1972 – to boast about.
The club has gone through a lot of rebounding over the years, and have sported names such as Zulu Royal Conquerers and Zulu Royals.
*The figure is correct as of 9 October 2020