FEATURE: WHICH PSL CLUBS HAD THE BEST JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW?
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Almost all 16 PSL teams reinforced their squads with some top players during the January transfer window, but which clubs did the best?
GOALCOMMENT By Ernest Makhaya Follow on Twitter
When the January transfer window opened on the first day of the New Year, big PSL teams, including those in the race for this season’s league title, were expected to reinforce their squads.
However, teams like Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates did not really need to sign new players as almost half of their squads are kicking their heels on the sidelines.
At Sundowns, for instance, Pitso Mosimane has been consistent in his team selection and, given the club’s current position on the log, he was never really short in any department.
The similar thing can be said for Pirates, although their fans hoped for one major transfer after the news of Kermit Erasmus leaving the club for French Ligue 1 club Stade Rennais a few days before the closing of the transfer window.
No Erasmus, No Worries | Pirates have Majoro, Ndoro and Gabuza
Nonetheless, they have three quality strikers in Lehlohonolo Majoro, Thamsanqa Gabuza and Tendai Ndoro, and the loss of Erasmus may not be a massive blow after all, simply because it would have taken some time for a new striker to adapt to the surroundings at Pirates and break into the starting XI.
Bidvest Wits, on the other hand, saw the need to make three major signings, as Gavin Hunt continues to fancy his team’s chances of securing their first-ever league title.
They acquired the services of James Keene on a free transfer, Bongani Khumalo from SuperSport United, and Sifiso Hlanti from National First Division side AmaZulu on loan for the remainder of the campaign.
These are top signings, but only Keene seems set to make an immediate impact-with four goals in his four league appearances-and is perhaps the only player the needed the move at this stage of the season and at this time of his career.
Wits looked very solid in defence in the first half of the season, but the arrival of Khumalo has seen them concede silly goals which often proved costly. Their title bid is still alive, but they just cannot afford to drop more points, especially with Sundowns in tantalizing form.
Gavin Hunt | Made three big signings, but only Keene has hit the ground running
It will likely take a while for Hlanti to get a chance, with Onismor Bhasera keeping things nice and tight at left-back.
Kaizer Chiefs also had a decent January transfer window as they only reinforced the two departments where they looked thin; the signing of William Twala was a brilliant move because they haven’t had a natural right winger since Mandla Masango left the club.
Amakhosi relied heavily on George Lebese and Siphiwe Tshabalala in the first round, and although the quality of the two left-footed stars is undisputed, they were sooner or later going to dip in form or get injured.
Goalkeeper Luthando Sixhaso was also signed to be an understudy to the three experienced goalkeepers Chiefs currently have, and the management can only be applauded for this move as Reyaad Pieterse still hasn’t committed his future at Naturena and Itumeleng Khune is struggling with injuries.
They may be 10 points off the pace with 13 games to go, but the Glamour Boys cannot be written off as yet in this season’s title race.
Mpumalanga Black Aces did very well during the recently closed transfer window; Muhsin Ertugral identified the areas he need to reinforce and did just that with the acquisitions of Bryce Moon and Lindokuhle Mbatha, both on loan from Sundowns.
Muhsin Ertugral | Banking on the experience of Moon and Mbatha
He also added Cebo Meyiwa, but probably more as a long-term signing that someone who can carry the team forward and win him games in the final few matches of the season. Their chances of winning the league this season have increased with the addition of two experienced attack-minded players from Sundowns.
Jomo Cosmos needed to bolster their current squad if they were to stop flirting with relegation; they needed a solid spine, and Sibusiso Kumalo and Luyolo Nomandela-both acquisitions on loan from Sundowns-will give them just that. They could well ease the fears of returning to the NFD by starting to collect important points as soon as possible.
Finally, Bloemfontein Celtic stunned their fans by releasing Franck Mhango, Musa Bilankulu and Tumelo Mogapi among other top players in their team, but retaliated with some good signings to increase their chances of finishing in the top four.
The three that stood out are those of Fiston Abdul-Razak on loan from Sundowns, Keamogetswe Wolff on a free transfer and Julius Likontsane from NFD side Witbank Spurs.
They have fitted like a hand in a glove at Celtic, and their arrival saw Serame Letsoaka’s men end their 10-match winless streak at the expense of title chasing Bidvest Wits side on Sunday.
It is worth noting that having the best transfer window doesn’t necessarily mean signing more players than anyone else in the league, but identifying areas that need reinforcement and spending wisely!