Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United locked horns for the second time in 2017 on the 23rd of August at Soccer City stadium, in an action packed thriller that produced a 6 minute red card and 3 goals at full time! Joburg Post takes a closer look at 2 individuals who amongst others, were the “busier” of the performers in SuperSport United’s’ Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Willard Katsande of Amakhosi. This article will look at 5 aspects of the two midfielders’ game (Passes, tackles, ariel duels, Interceptions, as well as shots at goal).
Since we’re talking midfielders, it made more sense to start by taking a look at the player’s contributions in passes. Zimbabwean midfield iron man Willard Katsande kept his game as direct and simple as usual, seemingly choosing to go for the sure and easy way to complete “foot – to – foot” passes that saw him clock in a total of 50 passes by the end of 90 minutes (with 42 completed). Reneilwe Letsholonyane, however, rose head and shoulders above his opponent in this aspect of the game, as he had a massive total of 74 completed passes out of 79, showing his technical genius and creative input in helping the team go forward and/or keep the ball.
Katsande redeems himself in this next part of his game, the man known as “Salt and Vinegar”, put in a total of 19 Interceptions in this match. He displayed good match reading skills and impressive defensive instinct when pitted against his former teammate Yeye, who made a disappointing 3 interceptions throughout the game.
Neither of the two midfielders in question is the tallest in their respective teams, yet ariel duels are a crucial part of any player in midfield or defence. This is due to the fact that if you’re not involved in an ariel duel to defend it will surely come in the form of an offensive header. Willard Katsande was involved in 10 ariel duels while Letsholonyane came in at only 3 for the full 90 minutes. No comparisons there!
Like ariel balls, tackles are a part of the game that no midfielder in any game can run away from. Winning the ball for your team by breaking down opposition attacks, sticking a foot in there to kick the ball out or simply stealing it from your opposition is the order of the day for every midfielder. This is another aspect of the game in which Willard Katsande by far surpassed his direct competitor. Katsande was involved in a total of 14 tackles, 11 of which were successful. In total contrast, Letsholonyane came in at only 1 successful tackle in a total of 7 in this match.
Shots at goal.
With Letsholonyane showing more in the offensive number game, one would expect this to be an area in which he rises head and shoulders above Willard, however, neither of the two were able to get close to goal to take a shot in this encounter with both players coming in with 0 shots at goal in the full 90.
In reference to Aaron Levenstein’s famous quote, Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela once said “statistics are like a bikini, they don’t reveal everything”. This statement holds true, as even though on paper Katsande was the more busier defensively (Katsande played as centerback for Kaizer Chiefs in this match after Eric Mathoho was shown a straight red after just 6 minutes of play), his team conceded 2 goals. In addition, while Yeye may have made passes for his team that scored 2 goals on the night, he did not get a shot on target nor did he make an assist.
What these stats help us in concluding is that Yeyes’ game can and should improve on the defensive side of things and that Katsande, once he returns to his normal position, should be looking to increase his number of passes in a match.
Author: Neo Phetlho