THE BREAKDOWN: Can Mabena Emulate Shabba At Chiefs?
Ndumiso Mabena Linked With Kaizer Chiefs Move
Kaizer Chiefs’ Siphiwe Tshabalala was named as the club’s Player of the Season for his stellar performances in the 206/17 season, but can former Orlando Pirates centre forward Ndumiso Mabena help the Amakhosi star when it comes to goal contributions?
In Soccer Laduma issue number 1029, it was reported that the Glamour Boys are interested in signing the Platinum Stars striker as his contract has come to an end with the club. Mabena would be a direct replacement for Bernard Parker, but, being able to play in the “number 10” role, he could be taking over Tshabalala’s central role behind the strikers, considering that the dreadlocked maestro is naturally a left-sided midfielder. However, the question remains as to whether Mabena can emulate ‘Shabba’, who was the club’s top scorer with seven goals.
Mabena has proven his proficiency in front of goal, scoring 23 times for Dikwena in the past three seasons and racking up 14 assists in that timeframe.
On closer inspection, while Tshabalala saw more of the ball, with 65.8 touches per 90 minutes compared to Mabena’s 54.5, and attempted more passes 51 per 90 minutes compared to Mabena’s 37.6, Mabena attempted almost 40% of his passes in the final third (25.2% for Shabba), averaging more final third passes per 90 (14.7 compared to 12.9) and passes for better accuracy (73.8% to Tshabalala’s 71.4%.
Mabena also attempted more shots and had more shot assists on a per 90 minutes (2.53 to 2.33), contributing to 5.47 shots per 90 between attempts and his creativity and just to note on shot assists, Mabena ranked fourth in the PSL while Shabba ranked eighth, so both had good creative numbers last season.
A high proportion of his shots were from outside the box (58.8%), but Shabba also attempted more than 50% of his shots from outside the box. Shabba scored more goals, but Mabena had more assists – and they both contributed to a similar number of non-penalty goal per 90 (0.44 for Shabba, 0.46 for Mabena).
In terms of crossing, while Mabena attempted more open play crosses (3.8 to Tshabalala’s 2.0), Shabba was more accurate with his crossing (26.8% to Mabena’s 19.7%).
Mabena certainly has what it takes to find the back of the net and to assist goals and could be a great alternative for Chiefs up front, but being able to relieve Tshabalala’s of creative responsibilities appears to be his most noteworthy attribute.
At the end of the day, the decision whether to sign him and, furthermore, the decision as to which part of the pitch he will occupy, rests with Steve Komphela. Having said that, the 30-year-old is in the prime of his career and, if Chiefs could have another star like Tshabalala causing trouble in the final third, they surely couldn’t turn the opportunity down.
Do you think Mabena could emulate Shabba at Chiefs?