The massive differences in the cash bonuses paid to teams in the Absa Premiership and those battling it out in the National First Division are not the only thing which separates the sides in two very competitive leagues.
It is almost always a cut-throat exercise until the dust has settled.
This week Thanda Royal Zulu – Amabhubesi to their loyal fans – made it into the Premiership with three games to spare.
It is a signal achievement for the outfit from Richards Bay.
It also deserved some kudos for coach Roger Sikhakhane, a largely unheralded mentor who, to the surprise of many football followers, took Chippa United into the Premiership … and was then controversially fired, rehired and then fired again.
This might not have been as dramatic as Leicester City’s famous championship win in the English Premier League.
But in South African soccer it signals an encouraging changing of the guard, with a new face on the block to try and absorb some of the glitter associated with the big teams who tend to regularly dominate the leagues and cups.
The first big challenge Amabhubesi face in the season ahead is to consolidate their position among the elite. If they fail, they are back where they started.