THE BREAKDOWN: Do Chiefs Need To Replace Masilela & Khumalo?
The Solution To Kaizer Chiefs' Left Back Position
Kaizer Chiefs will be looking to shore up their defence for the upcoming season and have been linked with Ajax Cape Town’s Mosa Lebusa, but is it necessary to make changes at left back?
In Soccer Laduma issue number 1029, the Siya crew revealed that the Welkom-born defender is being targeted by the powers that be at Naturena and that the club is adamant that they want to bolster their defence, which includes the role on the left side of the defence.
However, Sibusiso Khumalo and Tsepo Masilela are the current incumbents of the position, having spent the season competing for a starting role and it remains to be seen if Lebusa has what it takes to keep two experienced campaigners out of the team. The question therefore remains, has Lebusa outperformed his counterparts?
Lebusa was called into action more often at the back than the two Chiefs players last season, with 27 starts, compared to Masilela’s 17 and Khumalo’s 11. Lebusa made more tackles (4.04 per 90 minutes) than Khumalo (1.84) and Masilela (0.96) combined and also made more clearances per 90 (11.9) than both of the Chiefs stars. Furthermore, Lebusa won an incredible 78.5% of his aerial duels, which was the third highest in the league and won 68.2% of his total duels, which was the joint-12th highest in the league.
Going forward, the Masilela attempted more passes (56.6 per 90) than Lebusa (45.2), while Khumalo only attempted 44.7 and Masilela’s passing accuracy was the best amongst the three (87.5% compared to Lebusa’s 78.7% and Khumalo’s 75.7%), but Masilela played fewer long balls per 90, with 2.4 compared to Khumalo’s 4.5 and Lebusa’s 5.
Lebusa and Khumalo also crossed the ball more often, and all three players completed more than 20% of their open play crosses, although Lebusa and Khumalo were slightly below the league average (21.4%), while Masilela completed 26.3% of his crosses.
Therefore, it’s clear that Chiefs need to prioritise what they believe is important to them. It would appear that Masilela is superior to Khumalo and Lebusa when it comes to attacking movements, but one must also consider that Lebusa was also part of a team that was above average for direct play, as Ajax Cape Town were fourth in the league for direct play passes (8% above average) while Chiefs were last in the PSL, going direct 21% under the league average. However, Lebusa’s defensive statistics are superior to his counterparts’.
If Chiefs are looking for a more defensively sound left back, Lebusa would likely excel in that role, but Masilela remains a top quality attacking full back, which is more in the line of what is required of the modern fullback.
Do you think Kaizer Chiefs need to sign Mosa Lebusa?