Opinion by OnlineNewzBible's Main Contributor Mbedzi M Theshano
Despite the 2020/21 season still being at its midway stage, Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs have been linked with a vaudeville of players both locally and beyond our shores. Chiefs will again be able to sign players in June upon the expiry of their of their FIFA transfer ban. They had had an two-window transfer ban imposed by the world football governing body for their unbecoming conduct when they signed former midfielder Andriamirado Dax Andrianarimanana from Malagasy club Fosa Juniors in 2018.
Meanwhile the situation at the club is as terrible as it has never been, they are currently at 9th position in the DStv Premiership standings, similarly their CAF Champions League campaign has suffered a huge blow after a thumping 4-0 defeat in the hands Moroccan club Wydad Casablanca last weekend.
Despite the Champions league mauling, Amakhosi are on an eight-match winless streak which has seen the club go through the whole of February without recording a victory.
Even so, a large section of supporters, particularly on Social Media were already calling for head coach Gavin Hunt to fall on his sword, others who have seemingly assessed the situation with sober minds, have stated that the problem at Chiefs is not necessarily a coaching problem, but a large number of highly paid players who have gone past their best, whom the club should release at the end of the season.
Speculation has swirled that as many as 10 players will be allowed to leave Naturena at the end of the season, most of them will see their Expiring contracts coming to and end. Players who could be on the firing line include, veteran goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, Lebogang Manyama, Willard Katsande, Sphelele Ntshangase, Bernard Parker, Khama Billiat (although he might have to be sold), Lazarous Kambole (although out on loan), Philani Zulu, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Kgotso Moleko and many others.
And with coach Hunt reportedly set to make these wholesale changes, there have been talks of players which the club has identified to sign in order to bolster the squad for the 2021/22 season. However, Chiefs are known to buckle when it comes to paying huge transfer fees for potential targets, but usually they are forced to sign players at a premium due to their huge name.
Here are 15 players that I am supremely confident can help Chiefs return to their lofty standards of yester years. I will identify them and explain why they suit their identify of the players who deserve to play for Chiefs.
1. Buhle Mkhwanazi
The former Bidvest Wits defender is currently not playing football, this is due to his legal battle with Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila regarding his extraordinarily salary which the DStv Premiership side have seemingly failed to pay him off.
Despite spending close to a season without top-flight football, Mkhwanazi has been one of the best performers in the Premier Soccer League over the last few years, he is also a regular in the South African national team.
And with Hunt visibly struggling to find a solid defensive partnership for the team, and with defenders Eric Mathoho and Mphahlele showing alarming decline, Bobby might have to break the Bank for Mkhwanazi. His composure on the ball as well as his ability to read the game could just be what Hunt needs to have a solid defense which keeps clean sheets.
His reported R400,000 per month salary would not be a stumbling block considering that he would be signed on a bosman deal (Free contract). Even so, Chiefs are known for paying high salaries for players they sign on free transfers.
2. Sifiso Hlanthi
During the close season, when it became apparent that Hunt was to Join Chiefs, Hlanthi was reportedly waited for the club's appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, as he was expected to join his former coach Hunt at the club, however, when the club failed to rescind the ban, he subsequently joined Swallows FC for what has been reported to be a 1-year contract.
Hlanthi, who is also an experienced Bafana Bafana International, could help bring some consistency to the team's left back position, Chiefs have struggled to find a consistent left-back since Tsepo Masilela was allowed to leave. And despite players such as Sasman, Zulu, Ntiyantiya having played in the position, none of them has failed to convince or make it his own. Therefore, getting a player of Hlanthi's calibre could be really come handy.
3. Dino Ndlovu
PHOTO: Soccer Laduma
The Bafana Bafana international, who currently plays his football at Chinese club Zhejiang Greentown stated Soccer Laduma this week that if he was not able to travel back to his parent club, however, with his contract set to expire at the end of the season, he will become unattached, and he will surely grab the opportunity to play for Chiefs if is presented.
And, his signing could help the club on the goalscoring front, Chiefs have really struggled to score goals this season, strikers Leonardo Castro and Kambole have really not contributed much on goalscoring terms. Samir Nurkovic who made his return from a serious injury has not really got his mojo back, but he can definitely make telepathic partnership with a prolific striker of Ndlovu's abilities.
4. Brandon Petersen
The goalkeeper who during the close season was training with Chiefs after he left the now-defunct Bidvest Wits, and it was believed he will become a long-term replacement of Khune who is clearly approaching the twilight years of his career.
And, with Daniel Akpeyi and Bruce Bvuma also failing to dislodge Khune, Pietersen whom Hunt Trust so well, could be the missing link as far as the goalkeeper position is concerned. He will surely join for free as he is currently unattached.
5. Abubakar Mobara
The Cape Town City midfielder recently signed a new long-term deal, however, City are known for allowing their players to join better teams if opportunity arises. Mobara's dynamism and versatility could really help Chiefs with many problems they currently have.
His ability to play as a right back could help the club deal with their long-term crisis in that position, Siyabinga Ngezana and Reeve Frosler are not natural right-backs, having Mobara in the position can help team maintain some sort of a balance between attacking and defending.
6. Craig Martin
Historically, Chiefs have been known to produce or sign natural speedy wingers who are capable of crossing the ball, players such as Arthur Zwane, Stanton Fredricks, Jabu Mahlangu, the late Emmanuel Scara Ngobese, just to name a few. The Cape Town City winger could become the answer to their cry of a natural winger, he is dynamic, tireless and can produce good crosses for strikers to finish.
It must also be Remembered that Hunt's philosophy is pretty much predicated on playing direct football, and Amakhosi can prise the Cape Townian from the Citizens he could really provide a huge help.
7. Phathutshedzo Nange
The Stellenbosch midfield maestro was odds on to join Chiefs in the close season, as alongside Hlanthi he was training with the club with the hope of getting a contract but he would subsequently sign for Stellies for 1-year after Amakhosi failed to rescind their FIFA Transfer ban.
Reports have indicated that he had a verbal agreement with Chiefs which will see him sign for them at the end of the season. The former Black Leopards star is a box-to-box player and he has an eye for goal, something Chiefs do not currently have as their midfielders rarely make it into the scoresheet let alone make assists.
8. Lentshene Phalane
The dynamic Bloemfontein Celtic man has been in fine form for Phunya Sele Sele over the past few months, and his performances have caught the eye of a multiplicity of PSL teams. However, Chiefs have been heavily linked with his teammate, Luthuli who has been great for John Maduka's side.
Phalane can play the number six position which is currently occupied by the unreliable James Agay and Sometime even defender Daniel Cardoso.
9. Keegan Buchanan
The former Chiefs midfielder is currently unattached after he was unceremoniously released by Maritzburg United last month. He was famously given the number 10 Jersey when he initially joined Chiefs, but due to persistent injury troubles and Poor form he never lived up to his potential.
The man who has been likened to Manchester City midfield linchpin, Ilkay Gundogan by former Chiefs head coach Steve Komphela has made huge strides during his time at Maritzburg, this could be his opportunity to get a few wrongs right. He can form a perfect combination with Phalane in the middle.
10. Bradley Grobler
The all-time SuperSport United hitman has before been linked with a big money transfer to Chiefs, Grobler is arguably the best striker in the Premeir Soccer League currently. And this season he has blasted toward the leading goalscorer charts with seeemless ease.
Although he would not come cheap, Chiefs have the resources to prise him from Matsantsatsa for him to lead the line. With Grobler, Ndlovu and Nurkovic upfront that's a combination that can win the club their first league title since 2015.
11. Goodman Mosele
PHOTO: CAS Jar
The Baroka midfielder has been the revelation of the season, he has demonstrated that talent can be showcased even when one is playing for smaller team.
Mosele has received many plaudits from the South African football fraternity for his excellent performances this season, and Chiefs are reported to have been laid their eyes on him for some time and he could add some much needed creativity in the middle of the park.
12. Njabulo Ngcobo
He is affectionately known as 'Roadblock' by those close to him, the Swallows FC defender has been one of the most impressive players in the league this season, before they loss to TS Galaxy yesterday, Swallows had yet to taste defeat in 16 games in the DStv Premiership. Ngcobo has been responsible for that run of form.
This week, KickOff magazine reported that Chiefs have held talks with Swallows with plans to take him to Naturena, indications are that Chiefs are willing to pay Swallows with money and another player as a makeweight to facilitate the deal, a defensive partnership between Ngcobo and Cardoso can be impenetrable.
Although there could well be many others head coach Gavin Hunt has identified, I am supremely confident that if Chiefs are able to bring on board these players, the DStv Premiership title is theirs next season, because they would be unstoppable.
Do you think Chiefs can get any of these players?
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