The ever-presents in South Africa's Absa Premiership
The new season in South Africa's Absa Premiership is scheduled to kick-off early next month and on paper looks as though it will be a closely-fought battle between a number of clubs.
There are only four sides in the history of the Premier League who are ever-presents since the competition was first played in the 1996/97 season and not surprisingly they are also the four most successful clubs.
KweséESPN takes a look at their records with one club from outside of Soweto standing out as a shining light down the years.
Record: P684 W352 D178 L154 GF1021 GA583 GD+438
Points per game: 1.80
Win/draw/loss ratio: 51% / 26% / 23%
League title wins (8): 1997/98, 1998/99, 1999/00, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2013/14, 2015/16, 2017/18
Summary: Given that Sundowns have won double the number of Premier League titles (eight) over the past 22 years than any of their rivals, you would perhaps expect them to be more dominant on the overall table.
But we should remember that there have been some darker days at Chloorkop too with the club missing out on a top eight place.
Sundowns do have the greatest number of wins (352) in PSL history and are the only side to score over 1000 goals (1021). They also have the best goal-difference (+438) and the most points (1234).
They also have the best points per game ratio (1.81) and the best win percentage (51%) making them the undisputed kings of the South African top-flight over the last two decades.
As much as fans of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates like to claim the seat of power in South African football lies in Soweto, it is clearly not the case based on the numbers.
Record: P684 W335 D221 L128 GF941 GA548 GD+393
Points per game: 1.79
Win/draw/loss ratio: 49% / 32% / 19%
League title wins (4): 2003/04, 2004/05, 2012/13, 2014/15
Summary: When look at the numbers of Kaizer Chiefs over the years, one figure stands out like a sore thumb and is perhaps the reason why they have not won more championship titles.
Chiefs have played to 221 draws in their 684 matches, a figure that is actually above the league average.
It is not the most in the league, it is one stalemate fewer than rivals Pirates (222 draws) but has been an issue for the side, especially in recent years.
The club does have the fewest number of defeats (128) among any team that has played 300 games or more and is comfortably the best record among the four ever-presents.
Despite their tendency to draw, Chiefs' overall points tally (1226) is only eight behind record-holder Sundowns.
Record: P684 W316 D222 L146 GF943 GA605 GD+338
Points per game: 1.71
Win/draw/loss ratio: 46% / 32% / 22%
League title wins (4): 2000/01, 2002/03, 2010/11, 2011/12
Summary: Pirates' four league titles puts them level with Chiefs as the second most successful team in the PSL era, but they cannot lay claim to any of the major statistical records.
Their record of 222 draws sees them lead that category, though it is hardly a marker they will draw comfort from.
Interestingly, they have lost eight games fewer than eight-time champions Sundowns down the years, but have managed to gather 64 fewer points.
Like Chiefs, an inability to turn draws into wins has held them back.
Record: P684 W270 D220 L194 GF902 GA718 GD184
Points per game: 1.51
Win/draw/loss ratio: 39% / 32% / 28%
League title wins (3): 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10
*The above record is based on the findings of Judge Denise Fisher that reversed the awarding of points to SuperSport from their away match against Ajax Cape Town last season. They are subject to change.
Summary: SuperSport won three league titles in a row between 2008 and 2010 and up until last season were the only club to finish in the top-eight in every campaign, though the Ajax Cape Town saga threatens that record.
They have also topped 1000 points in their PSL history, the only other team outside of the top-three to do so, but like Chiefs and Pirates they have also at times suffered from too many draws.
Only Moroka Swallows (794 goals in 594 games) have conceded more times than SuperSport in the top-flight, though that is an unwanted record they will surely take in the coming campaign with Swallows now a third-tier team.