Cape Town - Kaizer Chiefs have confirmed their intake of players for the 2014/15 season – announcing five new signings, two youth promotions and one loan return on Tuesday at Naturena.
Here, Sport24 takes a look at who the new faces are and how they might fit into the Chiefs setup.
SIYANDA XULU (FC ROSTOV, RUSSIA)
Probably Chiefs’ biggest signing of the season, Xulu arrives as the necessary replacement for last season’s player of the season Tefu Mashamaite. Chiefs will be hoping that Xulu is immediately comfortable alongside Erick Mathoho, and that the pair forms the same partnership that Mathoho and Mashamaite enjoyed last term. Xulu joins from Russian Premier League club FC Rostov with pedigree aplenty and, at just 23, he is being eyed as a long term option for both Chiefs and Bafana Bafana.
KEEGAN RITCHIE (BLOEMFONTEIN CELTIC)
The left back returns to Naturena from Bloemfontein Celtic, where he spent just a season after a failed stint at Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic. Ritchie will find it difficult to break into the first side at Chiefs with Tsepo Masilela a common feature in the championship-winning defence last season. But Ritchie is five years Masilela’s junior, and will look to use his opportunities to knuckle down a place long term.
DANIEL CARDOSO (FREE STATE STARS)
The centre back has enjoyed a run at national level of late and now joins from Free State Stars. It is a move that shows how seriously Chiefs view the departure of Mashamaite, but Cardoso will be up against Mathoho, Xulu as well as Morgan Gould for a starting place. At 26, Cardoso is in his prime and his move to Chiefs will be crucial to his chances of forging a career with Bafana – spending time warming the bench will not help his cause.
BONGANI NDULULA (AMAZULU)
How much of a say coach Steve Komphela had in these signings is unclear, but the Ndulula capture comes across as a gamble. The striker has fallen out of favour at international level, and has been far from ruthless throughout his AmaZulu career. He is a target man, but does not possess a lot of pace and it is hard to see him covering much ground up front.
CAMALDINE ABRAW (FREE STATE STARS)
Far more mobile than Ndulula and a harder worker, the Abraw signing makes a bit more sense on the surface. He can fill the void left by Kingston Nkhatha, but scored just five goals last season in the league.
LUCKY BALOYI (RETURNS FROM LOAN)
The central midfielder returns from a loan spell at relegated Moroka Swallows, but how he slots back into the Chiefs team remains to be seen. Much has been expected from Baloyi, who has not quite lived up to expectations as the gifted playmaker many thought he was. He has a chance now to put that right.
ANDISIWE MTSILA and SIBONGISENI NGCOBO (KAIZER CHIEFS YOUTH ACADEMY)
The defensive pair has been elevated from the youth structures. The good news for them is that in Komphela they have a coach who gets a kick out of nurturing young talent and is not afraid to give young players a chance.