Players whose first impression lasted in the PSL

It took Siyethemba Mnguni five games before he made his PSL debut with AmaZulu.
It took Siyethemba Mnguni five games before he made his PSL debut with AmaZulu.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

It's often a case of make or break for many footballers in their maiden season. Tiyani wa ka Mabasa picks some of those who passed the test during the 2017/18 campaign

For Siyethemba Mnguni, joining AmaZulu last year from NFD side Mbombela United was like coming home.

The Newcastle-born, KwaZulu-Natal, attacking midfielder soon realised that settling at a PSL team is easier said than done.

It took him five games before he made his official debut against Bidvest Wits, a match Usuthu won 3-0 at King Zwelithini Stadium in September.

Mnguni, 25, has since found his footing and has had some games to remember, including scoring a brace in their 2-1 win over Golden Arrows.

He was named man of the match in the goalless draw against Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium in March.

With 23 appearances and two goals in all competitions, it's no wonder he's delighted. "My teammates and the coach [Cavin Johnson] really made things easier for me," Mnguni told Sowetan.

Besides him, there are a host of other players who showed potential in their maiden season, including teammate Sibusiso Mabiliso, who's a product of Platinum Stars development .

The Under-20 international managed 19 appearances in all competitions.

Not to be outdone, Orlando Pirates left-back Innocent Maela, who spent about six years on loan at Thanda Royal Zulu, returned to make 26 appearances. He's a Bafana Bafana international today.

Kaizer Chiefs defender Siyabonga Ngezana can hold his head high after an impressive start in the elite league. /Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Kaizer Chiefs defender Siyabonga Ngezana can hold his head high after an impressive start in the elite league. /Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Siyabonga Ngezana of Kaizer Chiefs can also hold his head high. The 20-year-old
defender takes no prisoners as is teammate Wiseman Meyiwa, who would be encouraged by the 19 games he played.

Cape Town City's Craig Martin, 24, will also look back on the season with fond memories. He was named City's most improved player after featuring in 24 matches in all competitions.

Elsewhere, Talent Chawapiwa impressed for Baroka with 29 appearances, one goal and five assists.

Bloemfontein Celtic winger Kabelo Dlamini didn't play too many games (13) but showed glimpses of a good player.

Golden Arrows left-back Zolani Nkombelo also deserves a mention after 25 appearances for Abafana Bes'thende since his move from Mbombela United.

Maritzburg United goalkeeper Richard Ofori was one of the reasons they finished with the second-best defence in the league (23 goals conceded).

Richard Ofori of Maritzburg United is ready to defend any attempt at goalduring the Absa Premiership match between Maritzburg United and Cape Town City FC at Harry Gwala Stadium on April 07, 2018 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Richard Ofori of Maritzburg United is ready to defend any attempt at goalduring the Absa Premiership match between Maritzburg United and Cape Town City FC at Harry Gwala Stadium on April 07, 2018 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Image: Gerhard Duraan/Gallo Images

Katlego Otladisa of Platinum Stars was unfortunately injured during the season and only managed 10 matches, but it was enough to earn the
21-year-old a switch to Mamelodi Sundowns.

Sipho Mbule during the Absa Premiership match between SuperSport United and Bloemfontein Celtic at Lucas Moripe Stadium on February 03, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Sipho Mbule during the Absa Premiership match between SuperSport United and Bloemfontein Celtic at Lucas Moripe Stadium on February 03, 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

SuperSport United midfielder Sipho Mbule, 20, is one for the future. With 19 appearances this season, he's made an impressive start.

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