Kaizer Chiefs have been made aware of James Okwuosa’s availability, as reported in issue 1130 of Soccer Laduma. What would the 28-year-old Nigerian add to Amakhosi’s defence?
With Chiefs said to be on the verge of offloading Mario Booysen and some doubts over the future of Lorenzo Gordinho, Chiefs would be left with Daniel Cardoso, Teenage Hadebe, Erick Mathoho, Kgotso Moleko and Siyabonga Ngezana as options in the middle of their backline.
However, Ernst Middendorp has not given Ngezana a single league start since he took over at the club whilst Erick Mathoho was taken off at half-time in the final game of the season after his part in Chippa United’s goal that day. Gordinho started just two games after returning from loan at Bloemfontein Celtic.
Should Chiefs take up the offer to sign Okwuosa, he would have the benefit of not counting towards their foreign player quota as he now has local residency after playing in South Africa since 2012. He had an unsuccessful trial at Highlands Park in January though and did not play a single match for Chippa United in the first half of last season. In the 2017-18 season, he was the Chilli Boys’ captain, starting 28 of their 30 PSL matches.
His biggest strength is his ability to defend his box. During the 2017-18 season, he averaged 14.0 clearances per 90 minutes, the sixth-most in the whole league. He also won 69.3% of his Duels that season too, the ninth best in the PSL.
During the 2016-17 season, playing under Dan Malesela at Chippa, he had the 8th best passing accuracy in the PSL, finding a teammate with 89.4% of his passes. He spent 18 months with the possession-orientated coach in that spell and was proficient at playing out from the back.
Okwousa had a short spell with Orlando Pirates during the 2016-17 season, joining in the January transfer window and spending four months with the club. His only appearance was the 6-0 loss to Mamelodi Sundowns. After that result, he never featured again.
If Chiefs want to bulk up their defence to allow some out of favour options to seek game time elsewhere, then Okwuosa could be a good option for Ernst Middendorp especially as his stats show that he was one of the best performing central defenders in the PSL when at Chippa, but never got a fair chance at Pirates.
Do you think Okwuosa would improve Chiefs’ defence? Should Chiefs take up the offer to sign him? Let us know by commenting below.