Kaizer Chiefs’ greatest strength since the arrival of Stuart Baxter has been their defence, and at the heart of that defence is ever-present captain, Tefu Mashamaite.
‘Masha’, 30, has featured in every single one of the Amakhosi’s league games so far this season without being substituted once, played every moment of their successful MTN8 campaign and is the player that has played the most games during Baxter’s reign.
Mashamaite, who has only missed the two Nedbank Cup games this season, was handed the Amakhosi armband during the absence of the injured Itumeleng Khune earlier this season, and has handled it so well that it was left on his arm even once their number one returned to action.
Not only has the centre back been the most reliable part of Chiefs’ squad this season defensively, he’s also popped up with a couple of important goals along the way.
However, the most impressive aspect of the tall central defender’s game is that despite playing 33 games already this season (3214 minutes) at the heart of the league leader’s defence, Mashamaite hasn’t picked up a single booking.
During those 33 games the defender has made 19 blocks, 32 tackles, 127 clearances and 449 interceptions, as well as only committing seven fouls in his own defensive third. To do all that without a booking is very impressive, especially as a centre back.
On top of the aforementioned stats, ‘Masha’ also has a pass completion rate of over 90%, signifying just how reliable he is at the heart of Chiefs’ defence. The defender has made 878 successful passes so far this season in total, 560 of which have been forward.
Given Baxter’s reliance on Mashamaite, the impressive stats previously state and the fact that Chiefs have a 73% win percentage when he's present, it would appear that, especially should the Amakhosi clinch the league title, the gentle giant has put his name in the hat for some top individual honours this season.
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