CAPE TOWN, December 21 – The signing of new players is usually a bit of a hit-and-miss affair.
Here’s a look at some who have so far proven themselves to be good value for money since arriving at their new clubs at the start of this season.
1. Emiliano Tade (AmaZulu)
The 30-year-old Argentina-born marksman has been an impressive addition to the local football scene. Lively and energetic, Tade has been a constant menace for opposing defences all season long and has shown himself to not only be a clinical finisher, but also a player with an eye for a killer pass to set up chances for team-mates. It makes sense that he’s been nicknamed ‘Nkathazo’ (one who causes trouble for others) by the Usuthu faithful.
Before his arrival in South Africa, Tade had netted an impressive 31 goals in 35 league matches in his last two campaigns for New Zealand club Auckland City. He’s wasted no time replicating that form in the PSL – his five goals in 12 Premiership matches an impressive conversion rate in a notoriously low-scoring league. Without Tade’s input, Usuthu would likely be floundering in the relegation zone and they may well find themselves having to fend off suitors in the January transfer window, such has been the South American’s impact.
2. Vincent Pule (Orlando Pirates)
An exciting player to watch, with great balance, touch and skill, Pule has really burst to life since arriving at Pirates from Bidvest Wits, where he had a largely underwhelming five seasons. With plenty of competition in Bucs’ attacking midfield department, Pule has cemented his place in the starting line-up with a string of outstanding performances, including four league goals in 13 games. He’s also become a regular fixture in the Bafana Bafana side, and with time still, on his side at 26-years-old, the former African Warriors left-footer looks set for a very bright future.
3. Lebohang Maboe (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Too often in the past have we seen a ‘big fish from a small pond’ struggling to make the grade after moving to one of the heavyweight Gauteng clubs. Not so with Maboe, who after saying goodbye to Maritzburg United, has hit the ground running with Masandawana and quickly entrenched himself as a key player in coach Pitso Mosimane’s plans.
A driving force in midfield, the 24-year-old former Mbombela United man is a real box-to-box player who can seemingly do everything: score goals, carry the ball forward, pick out passes, and defend. Like Pule, Maboe has also deservedly become a regular for the senior national team and could become a big star for Bafana in years ahead if his progression continues.
4. Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs)
Chiefs made a handful of mid-season signings, but so far it’s only Billiat who has proved a hit. At times the Zimbabwean has frustrated Amakhosi fans, who believe he can be overly selfish around the opposition box. However, with four goals and four assists in 15 league matches, there can be no denying the value Billiat has brought to the team.
Even without the statistics, the former Mamelodi Sundowns and Ajax Cape Town forward is clearly the go-to man to spark the Chiefs attack. Without Billiat’s help, the Soweto giants would probably have found themselves much further off the pace than the current six points which separates them from pace-setters Bidvest Wits.
5. Simon Murray (Bidvest Wits)
It’s a conundrum PSL coaches have been facing for years – trying to find a reliable goal-getter. While AmaZulu went via New Zealand to bring in an Argentine striker, the Clever Boys have also cast their net far and wide, with Murray’s signing from Dundee in Scotland.
The 26-year-old’s stats show that he’s been pretty prolific throughout his career, and so far he’s looked the real deal with four goals from six starts and six substitute appearances in the league. Clinical and composed around the box, if Murray can keep on banging in the goals, the Students should have every chance of recapturing the league title they relinquished to Sundowns last season. (ANA)