The Premier League in South Africa has a rich history and a passionate fan base that rivals some of the most popular football leagues in the world. Over the years, several teams have risen to prominence, but when it comes to the most Premier League titles, one name stands out above the rest.
The league was founded in 1996 after an agreement between the National Soccer League and the remnants of the National Professional Soccer League. It is stated on its website that the former name still exists today, but for legal purposes, with the Premier Soccer League being its trade name.
The league was reduced from 18 to 16 teams after the end of the 2001–02 season to avoid fixture congestion, causing the disbandment of two teams; Ria Stars and Free State Stars, though the latter was reformed and competing as of the 2020–21 season. In 2004, a match-fixing scandal rocked the football/soccer landscape in South Africa. An investigation codenamed “Operation Dribble” was launched by the police system of South Africa police in June 2004. More than 40 arrests were made, ranging from club bosses to match commissioners, referees and their assistants. Kaizer Chiefs successfully defended their league title in 2005 after they won the prestigious trophy in 2004 for the first time in a decade. The 2005–06 season saw Mamelodi Sundowns capturing the title for a fourth time. Since the 2017–18 season, they have dominated the league with winning league title after league title.
In 2007, the PSL signed a television deal with SuperSport worth R 1.6 billion, which was the biggest sporting deal in the history of the country and ranked the league into the top 15 in the world in terms of commercial broadcast deals. In the same year, ABSA replaced Castle Lager as the title sponsor, with the latter having sponsored the league since its inception. SuperSport United won 3 league titles in a row between 2008 and 2010.
As of May 2019, the league is rated as the 6th best in Africa according to the CAF 5-year ranking system.
For the 2018–19 season, the PSL gives each club a monthly grant of R 2 million, with funds coming from the television broadcasting rights and national sponsorships, with the league champion earning R 10 million.
In 2019, ABSA increased their sponsorship deal to the PSL to R 39.9 million, which meant that the league winners would secure R 15 million. ABSA would however announce its cancellation of its sponsorship with the PSL a year later on 4 June 2020.
On 24 September 2020, Dr. Irvin Khoza and MultiChoice announced on live television that the new sponsor would be DStv, effectively rebranding the league as the DStv Premiership. MultiChoice also announced that Showmax would replace DStv as the jersey sponsor of SuperSport United F.C. so the latter would be independent to sponsor the league outright.
Kaizer Chiefs, founded in 1970, is the undisputed king of the Premier League in South Africa. With a staggering number of 13 Premier League titles to their name, they have established themselves as the most successful club in the country. The club has a proud tradition and has consistently maintained its competitive edge, making it a force to be reckoned with on the South African football scene.
One of the key factors behind Kaizer Chiefs’ success has been their strong fan support. The team enjoys a massive following, with supporters known as the “Amakhosi” or “Chiefs.” The electric atmosphere in their home stadium, FNB Stadium, often provides a crucial boost to the players. This unwavering support has contributed significantly to their numerous title triumphs.
While Kaizer Chiefs reign supreme in terms of Premier League titles, they face fierce competition from their rivals. Orlando Pirates, another iconic South African club, have consistently challenged for the top spot. With nine Premier League titles to their name, they are the closest contenders to Kaizer Chiefs’ throne. The intense rivalry between these two clubs is one of the defining features of South African football.
Mamelodi Sundowns is another team that has made waves in recent years. With a talented squad and strong financial backing, they have won the Premier League title several times and are seen as a genuine threat to the dominance of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
It’s worth noting that the South African Premier League is known for its competitiveness. Unlike some leagues where one or two dominant teams often win, the South African league frequently sees different teams emerging as champions, which makes Kaizer Chiefs’ 13 titles all the more impressive.
In conclusion, Kaizer Chiefs hold the distinction of having the most Premier League titles in South Africa with 13 championships to their name. Their rich history, passionate fan base, and consistent competitive edge have made them a true powerhouse in South African football. However, with strong challengers like Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns, the battle for supremacy in the South African Premier League continues to be an exciting and closely contested affair, keeping fans on the edge of their seats season after season.