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Fabregas V Zwane

Mar 11, 2015 - 10:51 am
By Soccer Laduma
Soccer Laduma and Puma take an indepth look at some of SA’s best footballers, and pit them up against the rest of the world. In a head-to-head format, we analyse the attributes that make these stars world beaters.
This week’s focus: THE PLAYMAKERS
Fabregas vs Zwane
Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas is the epitome of the masterful Spanish midfield technician – not quick, rather small, but a pure footballer. He is cut from the same cloth as Andres Iniesta and Xavi. Indeed, his performances in London suggest he has placed a foot inside that small circle. 
Likewise for Mamelodi Sundowns’ Themba Zwane, whose influence is growing at Chloorkop. Can the 25-year-old enter the elite circle reserved for some of Mzansi’s greatest playmakers?  
We look at the key traits of Fabregas and Zwane to see how these two playmakers measure up.
With 15 assists in 21 appearances and with an average rating per match of close to 8 out of 10, Fabregas’ creativity when threading balls through to find open teammates in tight spaces is world class. He seems to possess an intuition where he sees moves unfolding four or five steps ahead. Diego Costa has most often been the beneficiary of his marvellous football brain. In many respects, what makes Fabregas special is his sixth sense for space and timing. In comparison, Zwane also has his own qualities, and to have been rated as highly as Shoes Moshoeu and Doctor Khumalo speaks volumes.
The Tembisa-born star has a good football brain and is arguably at his best when he plays off the cuff. During his time with Black Aces, he set the standard on attack. He showed he had the creativity and intuition to elevate a hardworking side to a whole new level.   
Developed in the style of tiki-taka at Barcelona’s La Masia Academy from the age of 10, Fabregas has a technique that is amongst the best in the world. He virtually never loses possession of the ball and, for a player with little pace, has a trick or two up his sleeve to beat a man as well. His first touch is a soft cushion on a bed of feathers, and his ability to manipulate the ball in tight spaces is superb. Zwane is a similarly well-balanced footballer. He can explode into space with the ball on either foot, and technically he is as good as they come in the PSL. It’s perhaps only a matter of time before he really comes to life for Sundowns.  
When Chelsea are in a hole and Jose Mourinho is desperately seeking a win to maintain their lead over Manchester City in the English Premiership, the responsibility is often handed to Fabregas to change and win the game. In their recent last-gasp win over Everton, the Spaniard came on to great effect (after a recent injury) to help engineer an unlikely 1-0 win. His use of the ball in advanced areas turned the tide in Chelsea’s favour. It’s not the first time he displayed his abilities as a game-changer, and it was his assist to Andres Iniesta that helped Spain win the 2010 World Cup in Mzansi.
Potentially, Zwane has the same ability to swing a game in his team’s favour. Clive Barker describes his natural ability as simply frightening, saying, “To be up there with Shoes and Doctor in terms of technique... well, that says it all, doesn’t it? He can win games by himself and we used  to give him that freedom.” 
High praise indeed from the 1996 AFCON-winning coach! 
PUMA evoPOWER Competition:
PUMA and Soccer Laduma are giving away a brand new pair of PUMA evoPOWER 1.2 boots to one lucky Soccer Laduma reader.


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