As the new Absa Premiership seasons gets under way on Friday evening when new heroes will be born and others will fade from the limelight.
10 deadliest players to watch for a variety of reasons this season‚ some because they have a point to prove and others for the quality they can bring.
DAYLON CLAASEN (BIDVEST WITS)
Much has been made of the arrival of Steven Pienaar at Wits‚ but the man once tipped to take over his mantle in the national team is also a new recruit. Claasen’s career has not quite seem him fulfill his potential and he returns to the PSL at a time when he should be hitting his peak in Europe. Can he deliver for Wits‚ is the big question …
RUSHINE DE REUCK (MARITZBURG UNITED)
De Reuck is a product of the same ASD Academy as Ayanda Patosi and was tipped to have a big future in Europe. But he has meandered along in the last few seasons and finally gets his chance in the South African top-flight at Maritzburg United. Can he make up for lost time this season?
SEDWYN GEORGE (AJAX CAPE TOWN)
Being top scorer in the National First Division the season before is absolutely no guarantee of success in the top-flight‚ just ask the likes of Ace Bhengu or Thabiso Kutumela. George took the second-tier by storm last season with 20 goals and has now been given his shot at the big-time with Ajax‚ where he is seen as a ready-made replacement for beanpole striker Nathan Paulse.
GEORGE LEBESE (MAMELODI SUNDOWNS)
Lebese had gone stale at Kaizer Chiefs‚ but now has a fresh challenge with Sundowns‚ where the pressure to perform will be no less. The midfielder has not had the best of times on or off the pitch lately‚ but the Mamelodi-born 28-year-old remains a quality performer on his day. His challenge is to show it every week.
VICTOR LETSOALO (BLOEMFONTEIN CELTIC)
Letsoalo’s goals almost single-handedly kept Baroka FC in the top-flight last season‚ but he has since moved on to Bloemfontein Celtic‚ where they managed only 16 goals in 30 league games in the last campaign. It was a woeful tally and the big challenge for new coach Veselin Jelusic is to find the right formula in front of goal. The 24-year-old Letsoala has the potential to be the man.
MARK MAYAMBELA (CHIPPA UNITED)
Mayambela has traded Ajax Cape Town for a return to Chippa United‚ where he says he feels wanted. It is a bold move for a player coming off arguably the best season of a career that has otherwise largely flattered to deceive. There is no doubting Mayambela’s talent‚ and on his day he can be a genuine match-winner‚ but as he has proven down the years‚ it is his application that counts.
TEBOHO MOKOENA (SUPERSPORT UNITED)
Mokoena emerged last season as a hugely talented midfielder after being given his first team bow by then coach Stuart Baxter. Now under Eric Tinkler he needs to continue that development and if he can‚ then SuperSport United and South Africa will have a massive asset for many years to come.
GUSTAVO PAEZ (KAIZER CHIEFS)
Paez looks to have finally nailed down a starting berth at Kaizer Chiefs and he has rewarded that faith with some sparkling performances. Chiefs have not had a striker who can scored 15 to 20 goals in a season for some time‚ and Paez has the potential to do that. A good finisher‚ he also creates opportunities for others‚ and can turn Chiefs from also-rans into title contenders.
AYANDA PATOSI (CAPE TOWN CITY)
Patosi’s challenges at Lokeren in Belgium have been much publicised‚ but within his small frame is an excellent footballer who can be among the best in the Absa Premiership. On the face of it his signature looks a real coup for Cape Town City‚ if they can keep him motivated and focused on the job at hand. He offers so much from open play and set-pieces‚ and fits in well to the attacking style of play of the team.
THAMSANQA SANGWENI (ORLANDO PIRATES)
The departure of Oupa Manyisa to Mamelodi Sundowns has left a void that could be filled by the accomplished Sangweni‚ a silky player with all the attributes to boss the centre of the park for Pirates. He will also bring leadership and experience to a squad that is looking to rebuild both its confidence and reputation. He could be the key behind a resurgent Buccaneers this campaign.