OPINION: Heavy reliance on one striker in the PSL

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Granted, the total number of goals scored in the 2015/16 season was an improvement from last year – but only by a mere seven goals. The League’s top scorer Collins Mbesuma needed just 14 strikes to claim the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot, though this is the joint-highest since Siyabonga Nomvethe’s 2011/12 tally of 19 goals.

Total League goals in the PSL over the past five seasons:

2015/16 season
562 goals in 240 matches = 2.34 goals per game
Top scorer: Collins Mbesuma (Mpumalanga Black Aces) – 14

2014/15 season
555 goals in 240 matches = 2.31 goals per game
Top scorer: Moeketsi Sekola (Free State Stars) – 14

2013/14 season
528 goals in 240 matches = 2.20 goals per game
Top scorer: Bernard Parker (Kaizer Chiefs) – 10

2012/13 season
546 goals in 240 matches = 2.28 goals per game
Top scorer: Katlego Evidence Mashego (Moroka Swallows) – 13

2011/12 season
583 goals in 240 matches = 2.43 goals per game
Top scorer: Siyabonga Nomvethe (Moroka Swallows) – 19

It is no secret that goals are hard to come by in the PSL, with a number of clubs heavily relying on just one man to produce the goods upfront. Polokwane City were the club most reliant on a single source for their goals last season, with top-scorer Thobani Mncwango scoring 13 of the team’s 31 goals throughout the season – a whopping 42% of the team’s entire tally.

Almost as reliant on just one man upfront were Mpumalanga Black Aces and Ajax Cape Town, with Collins Mbesuma and Prince Nxumalo netting a healthy 38% of their side’s total goals scored, while top scorer in all competitions Jeremy Brockie was responsible for 31% of SuperSport United’s goals across the League season.

Champions Mamelodi Sundowns were blessed with goal-scorers across the pitch, with Khama Billiat (12), Leonardo Castro (10) and Anthony Laffor (5) spreading out the scoring of their side’s 55 goals for the campaign.

Second-placed Bidvest Wits had Daine Klate, James Keene and Sibusiso Vilakazi as joint-top scorers, each netting on seven occasions to contribute an equal 16% of the club’s 44 goals scored.

A major problem amongst many sides however – apart from the low goal-scoring tallies by many of the club’s top strikers - is the lack of goal-scoring support from fellow strikers and midfielders, adding to the pressure of the usual frontman to continually find the back of the net.

The total percentage of each club’s top performer, as well as the difference between them and their side’s second-best, is listed below:

Mamelodi Sundowns:
Khama Billiat – 12 (of 55 goals, 22%)
Leonardo Castro – 10
Difference: 2

Bidvest Wits
Daine Klate, James Keene, Sibusiso Vilakazi – 7 (of 44 goals, 16%)
Difference: n/a

Platinum Stars:
Ndumiso Mabena – 10 (of 41 goals, 24%)
Eleazar Rodgers – 6
Difference: 4

Mpumalanga Black Aces:
Collins Mbesuma – 14 (of 37 goals, 38%)
Eddie Ngalo, Judas Moseamedi – 5
Difference: 9

Kaizer Chiefs:
Willard Katsande – 7 (of 38 goals, 18%)
George Lebese – 5
Difference: 2

Chippa United:
Lerato Manzini – 7 (of 42 goals, 17%)
Buyani Sali, Joseph Molangoane, Nkosinathi Mthiyane – 4
Difference: 3

Orlando Pirates:
Mpho Makola – 7 (of 38 goals, 18%)
Sifiso Myeni, Tendai Ndoro – 5
Difference: 2

SuperSport United:
Jeremy Brockie – 11 (of 36 goals, 31%)
Kingston Nkhatha – 6
Difference: 5

Golden Arrows:
Hellings Mhango – 6 (of 28 goals, 21%)
Gladwin Shitolo – 4
Difference: 2

Ajax Cape Town:
Prince Nxumalo – 13 (of 34 goals, 38%)
Nathan Paulse – 6
Difference: 7

Bloemfontein Celtic:
Lyle Lakay – 6 (of 30 goals, 20%)
Fiston Razak, Thapelo Morena – 4
Difference: 2

Free State Stars:
Andrea Fileccia – 6 (of 28 goals, 22%)
Danny Venter – 5
Difference: 1

Polokwane City:
Thobani Mncwango – 13 (of 31 goals, 42%)
Jabu Maluleka – 5
Difference: 8

Maritzburg United:
Evans Rusike – 9 (of 35 goals, 26%)
Kurt Lentjies – 5
Difference: 4

University of Pretoria:
Khethukuthula Zwane, Lennox Bacela, Vuyisile Ntombayithethi – 3 (of 25 goals, 12%)
Difference: n/a

Jomo Cosmos:
Charlton Mashumba – 6 (of 20 goals, 30%)
Brice Aka – 3
Difference: 3

A considerable difference between top and second amongst various clubs are noted, while where the difference is minimal, the number of total goals scored leaves a lot to be desired.

A number of factors make a comparison with European football almost null and void, yet a glance at Europe’s elite leagues reveals a much greater contribution from the second-highest scorers at each club with the League’s Golden Boot recipient. The differences may be much higher than in the PSL, yet this is understandable when the club’s topscorer, in Barcelona’s case, is netting 40 goals.

Top scorer in Europe’s top leagues, followed by club’s second-highest scorers:

Premier League:
Harry Kane: 25 (of 69 goals, 36%)
Dele Alli: 10
Difference: 15

Bundesliga
Robert Lewandowski: 30 (of 80 goals, 38%)
Thomas Muller: 20
Difference: 10

Serie A:
Gonzalo Higuian: 36 (of 80 goals, 45%)
Lorenzo Insigne: 12
Difference: 24

Ligue 1:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 38 (of 102 goals, 37%)
Edinson Cavani: 19
Difference: 19

La Liga:
Luis Suarez: 40 (of 112 goals, 36%)
Lionel Messi: 26
Difference: 14

The PSL’s 562 goals in 240 matches (at 2.34 goals per game) is a far cry from the totals reached in Europe:

Premier League:
967 goals in 380 games = 2.54 goals per game
Bundesliga
866 goals in 306 games = 2.83 goals per game
Serie A:
960 goals in 380 games = 2.57 goals per game
Ligue 1:
979 goals in 380 games = 2.53 goals per game
La Liga:
1043 goals in 380 games = 2.74 goals per game

Which leads us to the prospects for the upcoming 2016/17 season …

While still only in the first month of the transfer window, a number of clubs have attempted to bolster their strikeforce in attempt to alleviate last season’s problems.

Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates both struggled in the goal-scoring department last season, yet have both beefed up their attack already: Bucs have brought in NFD top scorer Thabiso Kutumela and Free State Stars striker Ayanda Nkosi, while Amakhosi have roped in Michelle Katsvairo, Lewis Macha, Ryan Moon and MultiChoice Diski Challenge star Emmanuel Letlotlo.

Polokwane City hope the goalscoring onus will not fall solely on Mncwango by bringing in Rodney Ramagalela, while Ajax hope Nxumalo will be helped by new Bidvest Wits recruit Joaquim Lupeta.

SuperSport United have Thabo Mnyamane to lend a helping hand to Brockie, while Golden Arrows, who scored the joint-least amount of goals of non-relegated clubs last season, will look to Bloemfontein Celtic’s Lerato Lamola to bang in the goals this campaign.

Last season’s top league scorer Collins Mbesuma has now found a new home at newly-promoted Highlands Park, where he is joined by former Jomo Cosmos hitman Charlton Mashumba.

The recycling of strikers in the League has not necessarily produced the best of results in the past, though a fresh environment and new teammates could be the change many of the above-mentioned strikers need to resurrect their careers elsewhere, with the hope of seeing their names on the scoresheet more often.

Either way, PSL fans will be hoping for a lot more goals in what should be an exciting upcoming 2016/17 Absa Premiership season.

Interact with us!

Are you happy with the look of your club’s strikeforce this coming season? What do you feel can be done to ensure a higher strike-rate in the 2016/17 season? How many goals should the PSL topscorer this season be targeting?

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