Players with a point to prove in the PSL after the Africa Cup of Nations
Posted: 11 February 2013 Time: 09:57
With the conclusion of the Africa Cup of Nations last night, our focus shifts back to the PSL – but which players from the Afcon have a point to prove going into the second half of the season?
After a disappointing showing at Afcon, ‘Shabba’ will be looking to rekindle the form that helped propel Amakhosi to the top of the League before the break. Barring injury, his experience and leadership will be key if Kaizer Chiefs are to sustain a successful title assault. At 28, Shabba’s over-reliance on his left foot will be something he will need to address if he is to prolong his career at international level.
‘Killer’ will want to put the last month behind him as quickly as possible and refocus his efforts on helping Mamelodi Sundowns climb the League table. The striker has just four games under his belt and two goals this campaign, and Pitso Mosimane will be hoping his leading man will be staying on the pitch and well clear of the injury room.
A surprise omission from Bafana’s Afcon squad, Myeni will do well to build on the form that has made him one of the PSL’s hottest properties. With more consistency, and displays like the one against Free State stars, where he scored arguably the goal of the season to hand Orlando Pirates a 1-0 win, he will leave Gordon Igesund with no choice but to select him when it comes to Bafana’s World Cup qualifying campaign.
Already into his fourth season at Pirates, the 22-year-old will have more responsibility heaped on his shoulders as Bucs contest the last three trophies available this season. With the CAF Champions League coming up, many will be hoping that Jali will inspire Pirates to a longer stay in the competition. The invaluable experience gained by playing against African opposition will stand him in good stead should Bafana come knocking. Expect steely midfield performances as Jali & co. fight to retain their League title.
Like most of his Bafana teammates, ‘Yeye’ will be hoping to use his performance at the Nations Cup as a springboard for the second half of the PSL season. With talk of a possible contract extension at Naturena, the Soweto-born midfielder will be motivated to win his first League title.
One of Bafana’s most consistent performers at Afcon, Phala will want to prove that his selection was no fluke but just reward for his early season form. With rumours of interest from overseas, the winger will not only be looking to cement his place in future Bafana squads but in the short-term look to inspire third placed Platinum Stars towards first ever League honours – they lie just four points behind log leaders Chiefs.
In the wake of some promising pre-tournament form, an injury in the opening game put paid to his Afcon ambitions. He subsequently missed the Angola match but was not considered for the last two Bafana games despite being fit. Like Myeni, should he play a leading role in Moroka Swallows’ revival, he will remain in contention for a Bafana place.
Another pre-tournament bloomer, ‘Ntofontofo’ was hoping to use his rediscovered scoring touch against Zambia’s Group C opponents. Unfortunately a return of only one goal from three games couldn’t stave off first round elimination for the reigning champions. The Orlando Pirates forward and his national teammate Davies Nkausu of SuperSport United will now look to conquer Africa at club level when they participate in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup respectively.
The Free State Stars man will be pleased with his contribution to Togo’s Afcon run, helping his nation reach the quarter-finals for the first time in their history. Among a host of players using the competition to slingshot their careers into Europe, the midfielder will look to build on his form at Ea Lla Koto to make that dream move a reality.
Morgan Gould and Punch Masenamela
Both defenders would have been shoe-ins for Bafana places had it not been for injury. With Gould already playing reserve league football (plus an international club friendly) and Masenamela healing well after his knee operation, the two could be back to their best very soon.