The 2022/23 football domestic season has come to its end in South Africa with champions crowned, places filled in all the tiers, new faces revealed and for some clubs a re-assessment of a season not quite going to plan.
While Mamelodi Sundowns were crowned Champions of the DSTV Premiership, Marumo Gallants (despite contesting the semi-finals of the CAF Confederation Cup) were automatically relegated to the Motsepe Foundation Championship (NFD).
Polokwane City won the NFD title on the final day of the competition to move back into South Africa’s top flight for the first time since they were relegated after the 2019/20 season. Cape Town Spurs finished second on goal difference and Casric Stars a creditable third after acquiring the status of Free State Stars at the beginning of the season. Black Leopards and TTM FC were relegated to the ABC Motsepe League.
That left Maritzburg United (15th in the Premier League), Cape Town Spurs and newcomers Casric Stars to fight the promotional playoff battle and that final place in the DSTV Premiership.
The Cape side won three and drew their final match to regain PSL status after five years in the NFD.
That left Maritzburg United being relegated to the NFD for the first time since the 2006/07 campaign.
In the meantime the ABC Motsepe League playoffs were taking place in KZN. Nine regional finalists doing battle for two places in professional football in 2023/24.
Upington City from the Nothern Cape finished top of Group B, while Orbit College from the North West clinched the best second placed spot behind Limpopo’s Mpheni Home Defenders and a place in the semi-finals.
Upington City beat Mpheni Home Defenders on penalties to clinch their place in the final but more importantly a spot in the NFD. Orbit College held off a determined home side Umsinga by a single goal to join the paid ranks of South African football.
The final saw the Northern Cape side beat Orbit 3 – 1, but both sides had already celebrated their new status.