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Tops & Flops: Yeye, Vila & The Best Signings Of 2016/17

As the 2016/17 Absa Premiership season comes to a close, we take a look at the biggest transfer business conducted by several clubs and which signings have been successful as well as those who’ve failed to leave their mark.

Baxter Announces Bafana Squad

Click through the images above to get a breakdown of the various players that signed for PSL teams this season.

Amongst some of the biggest stars that were signed during the July/August and January transfer windows were the likes of Reneilwe Letsholonyane, who joined SuperSport United from Kaizer Chiefs, Sibusiso Vilakazi, who moved from Bidvest Wits to Mamelodi Sundowns, and Abubaker Mobara, who departed Ajax Cape Town to join Soweto giants, Orlando Pirates.

Now, we take a look at each players’ appearances, goals and assists to establish which of them have made the greatest impact.

Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs to SuperSport United)

The midfield Maestro, affectionately known as “Yeye”, ended his eight-year spell with Amakhosi to team up with former mentor, Stuart Baxter at Matsatsantsa and has proven to be an integral part of their team, making 26 league appearances so far, scoring three goals and assisting a further five.

Darren Keet (KV Kortrijk to Bidvest Wits)

The 27-year-old returned to his former club after gathering valuable experience in Belgium. Following his arrival, it appeared as if he would be behind Moeneeb Josephs in the pecking order, but Keet took advantage of Joseph’s suspension for a red card against Cape Town City in the MTN8 and made a case for himself as he didn’t concede a single goal to help his team lift the MTN8 trophy. He has since gone on to make 20 league appearances, conceding just 16 goals and keeping nine clean sheets, which has been invaluable to the campaign that has seen Gavin Hunt’s team crowned champions for the first time in their history.

Gustavo Paez (Estudiantes to Kaizer Chiefs)

Just as Kaizer Chiefs’ goalscoring dilemmas looked worse than ever, critics questioned the club’s decision to sign the relatively unknown Venezuelan, Gustavo Paez, whose goalscoring record left a lot to be desired. However, having acquired his signature for free, it has been Chiefs that have had the last laugh, with Paez managing to score four goals and make one assist in 16 appearances in the league and the Nedbank Cup. Beyond that, he has become a fan favourite due to the energy that he’s shown on the pitch. Chiefs managed to score just 18 league goals in the first 15 matchdays, but since Paez’s arrival, they have scored 20 in the subsequent 14 matchdays, which goes to show that he has been a shrewd addition to their attack.

Abubaker Mobara (Ajax Cape Town to Orlando Pirates)

Along with Riyaad Norodien, Mobara joined The Buccaneers as a promising talent from Ajax Cape Town and, despite his team experiencing a tumultuous campaign, he has been a beacon of hope at the back for his team. Having played at centre-back, right back and predominantly as a defensive midfielder, Mobara has shown his versatility and has proven to be an essential member of his team, with 19 league appearances.

Out of the 10 games that he’s missed in the league, Pirates have conceded 12 goals, while he has played a role in five of Pirates’ nine clean sheets this season and scored in the 2-1 Nedbank Cup semi-final against Bloemfontein Celtic. At the age of 23, Pirates will be happy to know that Mobara could be a key member of the team for years to come.

Ricardo Nascimento (Atlético Monte Azul to Mamelodi Sundowns)

The 30-year-old was brought in to rejuvenate the centre of defence that had been occupied by Wayne Arendse and Thabo Nthethe and has become an invaluable asset as a ball-playing centre back. Nascimento has also proven to be efficient from the penalty spot and has scored three goals from the penalty spot. In 20 league games played so far this season, he has been on the losing side just twice, which goes to show how essential he has become to Pitso Mosimane’s defence, which has conceded the least goals in the league thus far.

Gabadinho Mhango (Bloemfontein Celtic to Bidvest Wits)

Arriving at Wits on a free before the start of the season, Mhango has established himself as one of the finest frontmen in the league. Having been given the freedom to drift wide this term, he has proven a key pillar in Gavin Hunt’s system this season, scoring nine league goals and making one assist in 24 appearances as he helped his team to be crowned as Absa Premiership champions.

Thato Mokeke & Aubrey Modiba (Swap deal between Cape Town City & SuperSport United)

If ever there were a deal that suited all the parties involved, this deal must be it. Mokeke has become a mainstay in Cape Town City’s back four, making two assists in 26 Absa Premiership appearances. He hasn’t grabbed the headlines like Aubrey Ngoma or Lebogang Manyama, but Eric Tinkler has shown his faith and there’s no doubt that he has been a key figure in City’s remarkable debut campaign. Meanwhile, Modiba has thrived on the left-hand side of SuperSport’s defence and their midfield, scoring one goal and assisting a further two in 21 league appearances for his team, while also finding the net in his team’s Nedbank Cup quarter final win over KwaDukuza United

Sibusiso Vilakazi (Bidvest Wits to Mamelodi Sundowns)

The 2013/14 PSL Player of the Season joined the Brazilians in July to add quality to a team that was already packed with some of Mzansi’s best talents. However, despite the big money (and swap deal for Cuthbert Malajila and Mogakolodi Ngele) spent on the 27-year-old, Vilakazi has only made 13 league appearances, with the majority of them coming at the beginning of the season when first team regulars were fatigued due to an extended campaign in the CAF Champions League.

In the 929 minutes spent on the pitch this season, he has, however, scored four goals and, following a period spent on the sidelines with injury, it is arguable that the best is yet to come from “Vila”. Yet, the fact remains that Vilakazi came to Chloorkop at a great cost and was unable to help his new club retain the Absa Premiership, while his former employers lifted the trophy.

Anele Ngcongca (KRC Genk to Mamelodi Sundowns)

Like Vilakazi, Ngcongca arrived at Sundowns with great expectations, considering that the vast majority of his club career had been spent in Europe and that he already had over 50 Bafana Bafana caps to his name. However, the fullback has spent less than 500 minutes on the pitch for Pitso Mosimane’s team, due to spending a lengthy period on the sidelines through injury, and is considered to be more of a squad player, with Thapelo Morena making the right back role his own throughout the campaign.

Keagan Buchanan (Bloemfontein Celtic to Kaizer Chiefs)

Buchanan arrived at Chiefs while still nursing a long-term injury that he suffered while on the books of his former employers, but was signed for free and was considered as a possible candidate to fill the void left in midfield by the outgoing Reneilwe Letsholonyane. However, Buchanan has made just six league appearances all season, three of which came off the bench, and has yet to register a single goal or assist.

Enocent Mkhabela

Mkhabela joined The Glamour Boys on a free from SuperSport United at the start of the season and failed to even make the matchday squad on a single occasion. In January, he was sent on loan to Platinum Stars and Dikwena intend to retain him on a permanent basis, according to reports.

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There have been a number of players that have come and gone in the Absa Premiership this season and this is accounts for just eleven players. However, we would like to hear from you, the readers as to which deals you thought were the biggest and what were the best and worst pieces of business conducted this season.

Who do you think were the best and worst signings of the season? Let us know in the comments section below.

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