Kaizer Chiefs delivered a record-low 39 points in the PSL this season, with Giovanni Solinas (14 games) and Ernst Middendorp (16 games) in charge of the side.
With the Nedbank Cup final left to play, and therefore a chance to end a four-year silverware drought, Chiefs can still end this term with some semblance of respectability if they beat Dan Malesela’s TS Galaxy side on Saturday. However, their league campaign saw the side finish outside the top eight, scoring just the eighth most goals (33 goals scored) but having the third best defensive record (29 goals conceded).
Which five players were Amakhosi’s best performers this season and come out of the campaign with some semblance of credit?
In a season with so few good performers and positive impacts, Ekstein’s form under Middendorp was one rare highlight. He delivered five goals and three assists, performing well in big games against Cape Town City (Nedbank Cup – scored), Bidvest Wits (PSL – scored) and Orlando Pirates. After years of under-delivering, he looked at home under the German coach in a role where he had to press and make forward runs. Ekstein has attracted interest from Orlando Pirates, such was his form before his contract was terminated. 6.5/10
The veteran is a player who had to rebuild his reputation after some poor form as a winger under Solinas. Middendorp has brought his confidence back and used him mainly as a forward. Although he has only netted three goals, one was the crucial winner in the Nedbank Cup semi-final, and he has delivered nine assists. However, only two of those goals created have been in the PSL. 6.5/10
The centre back had a mixed first half of the season, giving away a penalty against Mamelodi Sundowns and making an error against Bloemfontein Celtic. He was dropped towards the end of Solinas’ reign, but has come back strongly under Middendorp. He played well in the side’s early good form under the German and has had to carry the defence in recent weeks with those around him underperforming. He has also become the side’s go-to man on penalties, netting four times from the spot. 6.5/10
It says a lot that a player who has not played since late December, was the side’s second-best performer this season. South Africa’s number one did not feature in a single league game under Ernst Middendorp, but he had a steady first half of the season. He kept six clean sheets in the 13 PSL games he played. He saved a penalty in the first Soweto Derby of the season, and his stock has risen after the goalkeeping issues Chiefs have faced since his injury – particularly when Virgil Vries was in goal. 7/10
Despite a poor run of 11 league games without a goal, he still managed a strong overall season in terms of his scoring and creating numbers. He notched 14 goals in all competitions and added 12 assists. However, his five goals and five assists in the PSL were disappointing numbers. Next season, he will need to deliver better in the league to justify the high salary Chiefs are paying him. 8/10
Who was your Amakhosi player of the season? Which players impressed you and which performed below expectations? Let us know by commenting below.