Who needs what?
assesses the current squads of the 16 PSL teams and looks at where they might
still need to add strength.
Ajax Cape Town: The Urban Warriors are desperately in need of fresh defensive cover, both at centre-back and in the left full-back position. Only Black Leopards conceded more than their 49 League goals last season and with the future of Matthew Booth still up in the air, they are woefully short of centre-backs. They also need a new ‘number nine’, a targetman forward who can compete with Terror Fanteni in the starting position, with Mabhuti Khenyeza constantly linked.
AmaZulu: Usuthu are desperate to find more firepower after scoring just 32 goals last season. Only Maritzburg United and Jomo Cosmos netted fewer. The signing of Sifiso Vilakaz will help, but they probably need one more striker at least. They could also do with adding some width to the midfield. Coach Roger Palmgren says they are looking for a player who can play in defence and midfield as a replacement for Thami Sangweni who has left for Mamelodi Sundowns, and a right-winger and another striker.
BidVest Wits: What Wits needed most of all after last season is experience and boy have they added it. The signings of ‘old heads’ Thokozani Mshengu, Tinashe Nengomasha, Thomas Sweswe, Aaron Mokoena and Matthew Pattison will certainly add just that to the squad. They are still short of a striker or two though, and are reportedly currently assessing ex-Scotland international Craig Beattie.
Black Leopards: Leopards are set to have a major clear-out and will need to strengthen in all areas, particularly the centre of their defence, which looked vulnerable all last season. A midfield strong-man is essential too, as well as probably one more forward after the loss of Kingston Nkhatha.
Bloemfontein Celtic: Celtic are another side
undergoing major change and will be looking for players across the park. Having
let fullbacks Kgotso Moleko and Prince Hlela leave, that will be a priority,
but they might need another forward as well, having already signed Siyabonga
Nontshinga. His only real competition at this stage is Lennox Bacela. The team
has good width to it and are strong in the goalkeeper department too.
Chippa United: Chippa go into their maiden top-flight season needing to add depth in every position, but new coach Manqoba Mngqithi says he is especially concerned about finding an experienced goalkeeper, central defence and defensive midfielder. He obviously feels they may be a soft touch at the back unless they can fill those positions. Having sent loanees Cyril Mashego and Linda Shiba back to Orlando Pirates, Mngqithi has shown he will not just bring in bodies for the sake of it.
Free State Stars: Stars have been conservative in their signings over recent seasons and any changes at the club will be dictated by who leaves. At the moment they will be happy to recruit from the lower leagues to add their depth, but having lost Edward Manqele, they probably need more firepower up front. They will also look to bring in another defensive midfielder. Otherwise, the squad has good depth in most positions.
Kaizer Chiefs: Chiefs have already added significant
strength to the defence with the signings of Morgan Gould, Erick Mathoho and
Siboniso Gaxa, but it is the midfield that will be the most worrying for new
coach Stuart Baxter. There is a lack of creativity there beyond the likes of
Siphiwe Tshabalala, who won the club’s Player of the Season award in 2011/12
despite having by his standards a mediocre year. They have tried to address
that with the signing of Siyabonga Nkosi from Lamontville Golden Arrows, but
the jury is out on whether that move will pay dividends.
Lamontville Golden Arrows: Arrows need to solve their goalkeeper crises that saw them use four keepers last season, but never really settle on one. Nkosi Gumede showed great promise, but at the age of just 18 it is a big ask on him to be a first-team regular. They are quite well served in the fullback position, but never really replaced Siyabonga Sangweni when he left and the return of Robin Johannes to Orlando Pirates from his loan is a blow. They also have good creativity in midfield, but could add another strong-man to challenge Thanduyise Khuboni, while the signing of Stanton Lewis does give them that ‘fox-in-the-box’ striker they so desperately need.
Mamelodi Sundowns: Looking at the Sundowns squad on paper, it is difficult to spot any weaknesses, which makes their failure to win any PSL titles since 2008 all the more puzzling. They have good strength in depth, good youngsters coming through, and a good mix of players who complement each other. Their issue seems to be in the head, rather than their feet, and that is harder to fix. They have once again added quality across the park, and probably have an abundance of talent up front with a total of nine strikers on their books. Perhaps central midfield is one area they may still look at.
Maritzburg United: United will be
looking to add some depth across the park, starting with another centre-back
and a left-back, some more width in the midfield and another forward to
challenge Diyo Sibisi, Terrence Mandaza and Cuthbert Malajila. The ‘spine’ of
the team was fine last year, Shu-Aib Walters in goal, Mor Diouf and David
Booysen at centre-back, Michael Morton and Kulegani Madondo in central midfield
and one forward up front, but if they lose any of those players they will be in
trouble. And once injuries and suspensions took their toll, they battled. New
signings Delron Buckley, Orlando Smeekes, Frank
Sarfo-Gyamfi and Mthokozisi Yende add creativity in midfield.
Moroka Swallows: Swallows are unlikely to change much, but should look at their fullbacks on both sides to add depth. They could also use some width on the right-hand side of midfield, and another striker to take the burden of scoring off Siyabonga Nomvete. Their goalkeeper position also looks a little thin should Greg Etafia get injured.
Orlando Pirates: Pirates have always had a big squad of players and also players who can play in a variety of positions. They might look at a new right-back as cover for Happy Jele, though skipper Lucky Lekgwathi did that job admirably in the last campaign. But he will be 36 this year and cannot go on forever. They will also be keen to add another striker to the mix, even if they do keep hold of Tokelo Rantie on a permanent basis, which looks far from a sure thing.
Platinum Stars: Dikwena have already signed 11 new players, with two more in the pipeline. They say they will be closed for business after that, but they do still look a little light up-front and in the goalkeeper departments. The players they have added also have a ‘journeyman’ quality about them, bar perhaps Benson Mhlongo, whose fitness will be the major concern around him.
SuperSport United: SuperSport have always battled to
hold on to their star names and in the last six months have lost three of their
key men, Anthony Laffor, Morgan Gould and Tebogo Langerman. As ever, coach
Gavin Hunt will have a rebuilding job on his hands. He has already signed Bevan
Fransman to replace Gould, and Sello Mohlaka for
Langerman. They look
to have fire-power up-front.
University of Pretoria: They need additions everywhere. The step-up from the National First Division will be huge for the players and what coach Steve Barker needs is players with experience at this level. So far the additions have been uninspiring, but there will likely be many more to following in the coming weeks.