Itumeleng Khune failed to come to the party for Kaizer Chiefs, while Bidvest Wits’ new signings continued their excellent start to life with the Clever Boys, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
1 Chiefs’ defensive combination
Kaizer Chiefs’ central-defensive duo Daniel Cardoso and Eric Mathoho are too similar in nature and can’t be paired together. Both defenders have the ability to read the game well and are robust in nature, but they lack one major factor: pace.
Wits exploited those weaknesses in the first and third goals ― with Dean Hotto scoring after being allowed too much space. The last goal illustrated Chiefs’ need for Siyabonga Ngezana in the heart of the defence as Mxolisi Machupu and Gift Motupa combined well with the latter finishing off a swift counter-attacking move.
2 Wits’ new signings mean business
Gavin Hunt made a whopping 11 signings during the transfer window, citing the needed to avoid failures of the past as the main factor. Thus far, the Clever Boys’ new acquisitions have certainly come to the party.
Five of the six Wits goals scored in their two opening league games have come from new signings: Hotto (two), Machupu, Motupa and Terrence Dzvukamanja. Former Cape Town City captain Robyn Johannes has slotted in seamlessly in the heart of the defence alongside Buhle Mkhwanazi.
Although it may be early days, Wits have certainly improved on the transfer dealings ― coming a long way from flops Steven Pienaar and Slavko Damjanovic.
3 Chiefs’ insistence on starting veterans might be to their detriment
The likes of Bernard Parker and Siphiwe Tshabalala boast loads of experience and quality, but they need to be managed correctly ― as in knowing when they should be deployed and when they shouldn’t.
It wasn’t only noticeable in the Wits clash, but in Chiefs’ league opener against Sundowns too ― Parker and Shabba were almost playing on the wing. In attack, this tactic nullifies the attacking threat quite a bit with fullbacks likelier to track behind the ball.
Parker should be utilised just off Leonardo Castro due to his predatory instincts, while Tshabalala should play a more central role due to his ability to cut defences with his final ball into the area.
4 Wits have the makings of title contenders
Once again, it might early in the season, but Hunt has dipped successfully into the transfer market.
Not only has he increased competition and added quality to the team, but more importantly, he has succeeded in jacking up the spine of his team with the arrivals of Brighton Mhlongo, Johannes, Motupa, Haashim Domingo and Simon Murray, to mention a few.
Hunt is spoiled for choice in almost every position on the field, a luxury not shared by all the teams in the PSL.
5 Chiefs desperately need someone in the engine room
One of the biggest concerns at Chiefs since their last title-winning team under Stuart Baxter has been the club’s inability to replace veteran midfielder Renielwe Letsholoyane. Simply put, the former Bafana Bafana international’s departure left a void in the team that wasn’t adequately filled.
With all due respect to the likes of Hendrik Ekstein, George Maluleka and Siphelele Ntshangase, they either blow hot and cold or they are not prolific in the final third.
The arrival of 2018 Cosafa Cup Player of the Tournament, Andriamirado ‘Dax’ Andrianarimanana, could go a long way to filling that void. Until then, the Madagascan awaits his South African permit, while Chiefs suffer in the engine room.
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