In edition 1139 of Soccer Laduma, Pitso Mosimane exclusively told Soccer Laduma about a new contract for Tebogo Langerman. We delved into the stats to see why he has managed to keep Lyle Lakay on the bench at Masandawana.
In that exclusive interview with the Siya crew, 'Jingles' said, “We are yet to find a left back that can really push him [Langerman] out – we have seen all the left backs, we do our research all the time. I am not saying the other left backs are not good. They are, but maybe they don’t fit our game model. Langerman fits perfectly to our game model.”
Looking at the stats from the start of last season, as Lakay has only had a solitary outing this campaign, we can get an idea of why Pitso Mosimane selects Langerman so often.
In his 20 PSL starts last season, Langerman created 24 chances for teammates from his fullback position. He delivered 78 crosses from open play, averaging to 3.7 per 90 minutes on the pitch. Lakay was slightly ahead of that with 4.0 per 90 minutes, but he created fewer chances (16). The latter played recently as a winger at Cape Town City, so it’s no surprise that he can compete with Langerman in an attacking sense.
In terms of passing and build-up play, Langerman is outstanding. The 33-year-old has 85% accuracy with his passes in the final third, compared to Lakay’s 79%. In terms of forward passing accuracy, they were very close, with Langerman at 65% accuracy contrasted with Lakay’s 64%.
Although Sundowns’ fullbacks spend large parts of every game getting forward and overlapping to give the side width, it is also imperative to be solid defensively. Langerman wins more tackles per 90 minutes on the pitch than Lakay with 1.13 to 0.79, but the latter wins a high proportion of his tackles, being successful in 75% of them versus Langerman’s 60%.
In the air, with his greater height, Langerman is unsurprisingly stronger as he wins 3.1% more aerial duels than Lakay. He also wins more headed challenges, at 1.41 per game.
These numbers show that despite his advancing years, Langerman is still doing a fantastic job for the team. He brings excellent attacking thrust, but also defensive solidity and height for set-plays. Lakay is a strong squad player and adds a lot going forward due to recent past as a winger, so Sundowns look in good shape at left back for this season.
Langerman has seen off several left back challengers in his time at Sundowns, including Siyabonga Zulu, Mzikayise Mashaba and Fares Hachi, amongst others.
Who should be Pitso Mosimane’s starting left back, Langerman or Lakay? Let us know by commenting below!