Maluleke on why SA strikers have regressed

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Bradley Grobler of Supersport United during the Absa Premiership match between SuperSport United and Baroka FC at Bidvest Stadium on September 02, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bradley Grobler of Supersport United during the Absa Premiership match between SuperSport United and Baroka FC at Bidvest Stadium on September 02, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gallo Images

The unwillingness to add more hours of individual training and getting satisfied too early.

This is what the retired 2001/02 campaign’s Golden Boot winner Ishmael Maluleke has cited as the reasons for local marksmen's regression in recent seasons.

In the just-wrapped-up Premiership season, two foreign strikers, Orlando Pirates’ Gabadinho Mhango (Malawi) and Namibian Peter Shalulile of Highlands Park finished as joint leading-scorers with 16 goals each.

Foreign strikers have been dominant in the Premiership, winning three of the Golden Boots in the past five seasons, with locals clinching it twice in the process.

Zambian veteran striker Collins Mbesuma won the 2015/16 edition with 14 goals for Mpumalanga Black Aces. In the following season it remained in SA, thanks to Lebogang Manyama’s 13 goals at Cape Town City.

South Africans Percy Tau and Rodney Ramagalela, when they were still on the books of Mamelodi Sundowns and Polokwane City respectively, shared this gong after netting 11 goals apiece in the 2017/18 campaign.

In 2018/19, the award returned to Zambia when Black Leopards’ Mwape Musonda outshone his peers with 16 strikes.

Netting 14 goals, two adrift of Shalulile and Mhango, SuperSport United’s Bradley Grobler was the nearest challenger as far as SA strikers are concerned. Third on the scoring-charts were four players, tied on 13 goals.

Kaizer Chiefs’ Serb forward Samir Nurkovic and Zimbabwe international Knox Mutizwa (Golden Arrows), alongside another two South Africans – Bongi Ntuli of AmaZulu and Kermit Erasmus of City, are the men who ended the season neck-and-neck with 13 strikes.

Maluleke, who achieved the Golden Boot via scoring 18 for Manning Rangers, has found reasons why SA strikers usually struggle to win this coveted accolade. “I think it comes with hunger and determination,” said Maluleke.

“SA strikers tend to get content too early, you see even with their celebrations after scoring. They love fame and making headlines while they don’t put extra hours working individually.”

The 43-year-old retired striker, who is now a pastor in Giyani, emphasised strikers must be willing to work behind the scenes without coaches. Aided by his Safa C coaching licence, Maluleke juggles priesthood with polishing raw football talent through his Africa Dzonga Academy.

“Scoring goals is not easy…you need to put more hours alone. When other players leave, you stay behind without coaches; our strikers don’t do that and that’s why foreign strikers dominate… they have that hunger,” stated Maluleke.

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