SA set for thrilling PSL season
Sport24 columnist S’Busiso Mseleku (File)
If the signings made by Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs as well as AmaZulu and Ajax Cape Town’s display against English soccer giants Manchester United is anything to go by, we are in for a thrilling soccer season.
After playing second fiddle to neighbours and bitter arch-rivals Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs have gone out of their way to see that they maintain their tag as “The Glamour Boys” of South African football following one of their worst seasons where they finished empty-handed.
Amakhosi have brought in highly experienced players in Siboniso Gaxa, Morgan Gould, Siyabonga Nkosi and rock-solid defender Mulomowandau Mathoho who proved his worth with his first season at Bloemfontein Celtic earning a Bafana Bafana call-up.
Pirates, who clinched their second treble in two seasons running, did not go to slumber land either.
To ensure that the stay in contention for all silverware that is on offer this season, they have signed Zimbabwean Takesure Chinyama from Dynamos, brought back Lucas Thwala, Robin Johannes and other players who were on loan to several PSL and National First Division (NFD) clubs.
Despite failure to lure Mathoho with big bucks, Mamelodi Sundowns continued to wave their cheque book as they brought on red-hot strikers Edward Manqele from Free State Stars and Eleazar Rogers from the relegated Santos.
They have also signed Tebogo Langerman, Thansanqa Sangweni, Ghanaian midfielder Emmanuel Baffour as well as Liberian international Mumuni Abubakar.
True to the promise of chairman Brian Joffe that the club will serious contest the trophies available this season, Bidvest Wits have not only plundered the market scene, they have also appointed Spanish Antonio Lopez Habas as coach after sacking the under-achieving Roger De Sa.
They have roped in former Bafana Bafana skipper Aaron “Mbazo” Mokoena, Matthew Pattison, Mark Haskins and Ayo Oluwafemi into their playing staff.
There has also been a lot of musical chairs among players and coaching staff, with the most weird and surprising move being that of Bobbie Solomons who left Santos and moved to Bloemfontein Celtic to take up the position of assistant coach to Clinton Larsen.
The move raised many eyebrows as Solomons has been in the business much longer than the-wet-behind-the-ears Larsen.
The movements are a sure sign that the clubs do now take their business seriously.
There have also been glimpses of what to expect this coming season with Chiefs beating Moroka Swallows 3-0 on their way to a penalty-shootout victory over Bidvest Wits to claim the inaugural Gauteng Challenge while Pirates overcame Sundowns on penalties to lift the Mbombela Cup.
Travels by Swallows to China, Sundowns to Swaziland as part of their pre-season training as well as the two matches by AmaZulu and Ajax against Manchester United are proof that PSL clubs are now really taking this part of preparation seriously.
Chiefs, who have brought on board former Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter as their mentor and Pirates, will have some more opportunity to test their strengths when they meet in the Soweto derby in their fight for the second Carling Black Label Challenge.
Pirates won last year’s inaugural version.
Sundowns, Swallows and SuperSport United can still flex their muscles in the Mopani Mayoral Cup before the season opens.
However, as the old adage goes, clubs must be aware that money can’t buy you everything.
Sundowns have been proof to this after spending millions in the past few seasons only to finish without any trophies.
So buying good players is not an answer to everything. It takes proper planning and buying wisely, going for players who are suited to the coach’s needs for a club to amass a wealth of trophies.
It would help for our clubs to take a leaf out of Barcelona’s book. The Spanish giants have invested $579.4m in players over the past 10 years and this investment has yielded 19 trophies.
On the other side, Real Madrid have splashed $893.8m over the same period but won only seven trophies.
These are interesting statistics that can really serve as a lesson for PSL clubs.S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.Disclaimer:
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