THE BREAKDOWN: SSU Or Pirates? Nyatama’s Dilemma
Which club should Musa Nyatama choose?
Bloemfontein Celtic’s Musa Nyatama is reportedly the subject of interest from Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United and in the breakdown today, we take a look at which of the two clubs would be the better for him.
In Soccer Laduma issue number 1028 it was revealed that Nyatama has attracted interest from Parktown and Tshwane, but that it still remains to be seen whether Celtic will be willing to listen to offers for one of their most consistent performers, with one year left on his current contract.
The crux of the issue, however, is whether Nyatama is attracting interest for his qualities in the middle of the park, or whether it is for his ability going forward. As a result, both he and his would-be suitors should identify where he would fit in their respective teams.
Nyatama averaged 55.1 touches per 90 minutes and was solid on the ball, averaging 47.8 passes per 90 minutes – the second highest figure amongst Celtic’s players - with a 79.7% passing accuracy, which is above the PSL average of 77%.
He was also one of the main attacking threats, not only as the club’s top scorer, but he also ranked fifth on the team with 2.44 shots, second with 1.98 shot assists, fourth with 13.1 final third passes and third with 2.64 penalty area touches per 90 minutes.
To build on that, he attempted 1.32 shots inside the box per 90 minutes, which made up 54.2% of his total shots.
Compared to his counterparts at Orlando Pirates, Nyatama averaged fewer touches (55.1) and passes (47,8) per 90 minutes both Mpho Makola (66.2 and 51,7) and Oupa Manyisa (57.2 and 50.8), with both players having passed the ball with better accuracy (82,6% and 89.5% respectively compared to Nyatama’s 79.7%).
Where Nyatama excelled, in comparison, was as an attacking threat. He attempted more shots (2.44 per 90 minutes) and took more penalty area touches (2.64 per 90 minutes) than both players, with Manyisa taking 0.74 shots and 0.67 penalty area touches per 90 minutes and Makola generating figures of 1.85 and 1.76 for the respective areas.
Looking at his shot breakdown, this becomes more significant, as Nyatama attempted more than 50% of his shots inside the box while Makola and Manyisa both attempted less than 30% of their shots in the box.
It’s therefore not surprising that Nyatama scored five goals last season while only Manyisa scored for Pirates (and he only scored once). It would, therefore, be fair to say that he’d offer a more attacking threat from midfield.
At SuperSport United, it’s a more difficult comparison because SuperSport either play three central midfielders, with no number 10 or with two strikers.
Reneilwe Letsholonyane is perhaps the closest comparison, as his touches (56.9) and passes (48.5) per 90 minutes were similar to Nyatama’s, but Nyatama attempted more shots per 90 minutes, compared to Letsholonyane’s 1.51, and averaged more shot assists per 90 minutes (1.98 to 1.23).
However, Letsholonyane won more balls per 90, with 12, compared to Nyatama’s 7.5. Nyatama would likely play alongside both Letsholonyane and Dean Furman, although he does provide the option for SuperSport to change their shape to accommodate a number 10.
Therefore, all three parties involved in the potential transfer need to take the stats into consideration and understand that, at Pirates, Nyatama would play less of a ball-carrying role than his counterparts and would spend more time in and around the box, while at SuperSport, he’d be the link between the midfield and attack, giving them greater tactical flexibility.
Meanwhile, the player himself needs to take into consideration that a potential transfer could see him fighting for game time with the above-mentioned midfielders and that his potential new coach’s tactical approach will have a huge influence on whether he can replicate his form at Celtic elsewhere and, with this in mind, he should also consider whether it may be a better idea to stay put in the Free State.
Which club do you think Nyatama should join? Or do you think he should stay at Celtic?