THE BREAKDOWN: Coetzee Or Onyango – Who’ll Fit Better At Sundowns?
Should Sundowns Sign Rivaldo Coetzee Or Brian Onyango?
Mamelodi Sundowns are currently facing a dilemma as to where they should look to provide cover for the centre back role at the club, with Ajax Cape Town’s Rivaldo Coetzee and Maritzburg United’s Brian Onyango being the candidates for the role.
Sundowns have been linked with the Ajax star for quite some time, but it was revealed in Soccer Laduma issue number 1029 that they have now turned their attention to the Maritzburg United defender, with Coetzee commanding a mammoth fee and also linked with a move to Europe. However, should Sundowns opt for plan B or should they rather put in their best efforts to bring Coetzee into the club?
Onyango’s defensive actions were higher than Coetzee’s last season – more blocks, clearances, tackles and duels (2.0, 13.0, 1.79, and 6.04 per 90 minutes compared to Coetzee’s 1.44, 11.7, 0.97 and 3.81), while Coetzee won more balls per 90(21.0 to 17.8). Both players won a similar number of their aerial duels, while Coetzee won almost 70% of his ground duels compared to 60.7% for Onyango (which is still strong). The big difference between the two was on the ball – Coetzee attempted more than twice as many passes per 90 (54.5 to 23.2), passed for better accuracy (88% to 79.1), attempted more long balls (7.8 to 3.2 per 90) and was more accurate with his long passes (63% to 37.7%).
Therefore, the defensive contribution that both would offer is somewhat similar, but Coetzee provides more options going forward, much like Sundowns’ current incumbent, Ricardo Nascimento. Onyango appears to be more of a central defender in the shape of Soumahoro Bangaly.
However, on needs to consider that there are three different teams with three different styles of play and the adjustment from one to the other will be different.
Sundowns led the PSL with 56% more possessions in the maintenance possession style, which captures possessions in which a team looks to maintain and secure possession of the ball within the defensive area of the pitch, then the league average – Ajax Cape Town were also above average here (5th in the PSL, 15% above average), while Maritzburg were bottom of the league (35% below average). Coetzee would, therefore, be more used to this style, which is why his passing numbers were higher, so he could fit into the Sundowns system quicker – at least when on the ball.
With all of this considered, Sundowns must ask whether they value a traditional hard-hitting defender as much as a ball playing centre back. Rivaldo Coetzee offers the latter, which is why he is one of the hottest properties in South Africa. He would integrate better into the Sundowns system.
However, Sundowns face an incredible fight if they are to sign Coetzee and the club’s management needs to decide if they are to put all of their eggs in one basket or if they will pursue a more realistic target in the form of Onyango.
Do you think Sundowns should sign Brian Onyango or Rivaldo Coetzee?