Mark Gleeson

Amakhosi's 'D' deserves plaudits

2015-04-23 13:30
Mark Gleeson (Gallo Images)

Many coaches will insist the successful recipe for constructing a winning team is to build from the back and Kaizer Chiefs certainly got it right this season in the defensive department.

While they might still be struggling upfront, and be devoid of a proper predatory frontline striker, they have still romped to the championship with three games to spare.

This is on the back of conceding just 12 goals with a defence that I never found convincing yet deserving in all they plaudits they are now receiving.

In the end the numbers don’t lie and just 12 goals conceded in 27 matches is formidable work, even if at times Eric Mathoho has looked a train smash waiting to happen, Tsepo Masilela has continued his perennial battle with niggling injury and Siboniso Gaxa can get often caught out of position.

Only Tefu Mashamaite exhibits a sense of calm confidence in executing his task which translates to a belief from the spectators that he can handle almost any problem.

Yet they will rightfully go down in local footballing history among the best back four combinations Chiefs have ever assembled.

There maybe wasn’t the booming charisma of a ‘Ryder’ Mofokeng, Jimmy ‘Brixton Tower’ Joubert, ‘Jingles’ Perreira or Trevor Mthimkulu but the 2015 version got the job done with some aplomb.

It is, however, disturbing that Chiefs win the league title with likely the lowest tally of goals ever scored by any previous champion and effectively without a goal poacher of any note.

That doesn’t say much for the standard of the league where the pace of play remains frenetic but the basic skills remain poor.

An example of this was delivered on Wednesday night at Atteridgeville as Tlou Segolela, on loan from Orlando Pirates to Platinum Stars, started off with exciting vigour as he delivered pacey runs down the wing, setting off a real sense of anticipation, only to consistently bang his crosses nowhere.

It seems so pointless, all the running and dribbling to be rendered null and void by the poor technique of being unable to deliver a square cross. What Dillon Sheppard would do to have Segolela’s legs!

These lack of fundamental skills - also shooting on target and being able to use both feet - mean there is a basic quality missing in the local game, although it is still an exciting spectacle because it is played at such a furious pace.

But had it not been for the gay abandon with which Polokwane City play, we would have had a lot fewer goals this season as defences improve markedly but the strikers seem to have all disappeared.

Mark Gleeson is a world-renowned soccer commentator and Editorial Director of Mzanzi Football.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    kaizer chiefs  |  psl  |  mark gleeson  |  soccer
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