With it being confirmed that Andile Jali will be suspended for the second leg of the Caf Champions League Final against Al Ahly, we took a look at why the player could be missed by Orlando Pirates on Sunday evening.
Our exclusive Soccer-Laduma stats from the first leg seem to paint a picture that the suspended Jali will be missed in Cairo as he is someone who is influential for Pirates in the middle of the park.
For armchair observers of Jali, a case could be made that the player gives the ball away too much for a possession-keeping central midfielder.
However, the numbers show that this isn’t entirely the case. In the Al Ahly game, he tied highest with Tlou Segolela in giving the ball away, 22 times in the 90 minutes. Yet it’s important to note that he took the responsibility of getting on the ball far more than anyone else.
In the game he had 116 individual possessions, compared to fellow central midfielder Oupa Manyisa, who had 69. This suggests he’s the driving force for Bucs from the centre of the park.
He’s the one who takes the responsibility of getting on the ball and leading the fight. Therefore, it fits that from time to time he will lose it in the tight areas in which he operates. He also regained possession of the ball far better than anyone else, apart from Rooi Mahamutsa.
Jali regained possession 17 times while Mahamutsa did so 25 times. In comparison Manyisa regained the ball nine times while the more centrally operating Sifiso Myeni did so just three times.
What these numbers seem to show is that Jali is the dynamo and workhorse for Bucs, both in keeping possession and also for applying himself to go pick up the pieces and win it back.
Yes, it does seem he gives the ball away a lot at times. Nonetheless, perhaps it’s because he’s in the heart of the action in tight areas a lot of the time.
With Al Ahly expected to have much more of the ball at home in the second leg, having Jali there as a driving force in the middle will very likely be missed. Then again, it could be just the opportunity that, say, a Lehlogonolo Masalesa needs to really make a name for himself!
Our numbers showed that he was the star man in winning the midfield battle for Bucs in the recent Soweto Derby. His availability as a replacement for Jali is certainly a plus point for coach Roger de Sa.
How do you think Jali's absence could affect Bucs against Al Ahly?