Dube, Thibedi look sure bets to rejoin Soweto giants
We pick five loan stars who have enhanced their reputations
As the current Premier Soccer League campaign draws to a close, a number of players who were out on loan will be returning to their parent clubs. Sihle Ndebele picks five players who shone brightest while they were loaned out this season.
Mthokozisi Dube (Golden Arrows from Orlando Pirates)
Initially, Mthokozisi struggled to hold his own at Arrows, playing second fiddle to Siyabonga Dube. After being an unused sub in Arrows’ first four league games, Mthokozisi, 28, has started all the league games ever since.
The talented right-back has contributed immensely to Abafana Bes’thende’s purple patch. The right-back position at Pirates is up for grabs as they had to convert natural midfielders Wayde Jooste and Siphesihle Ndlovu to play there this season.
Given Thibedi (Swallows from Kaizer Chiefs)
Before injuries derailed his progress a bit in the second half of the season, Thibedi was in the form of his life at the Dube Birds. Swallows’ regression began when the 23-year-old was in and out of the team due to injuries.
The Chiefs development product’s creativity in the middle of the park helped Swallows in the first round of the season, where they were once at the summit. As they are expected to show a number of older players the door, Amakhosi are likely to need Thibedi in the new season.
Tebogo Tlolane (Maritzburg United from Pirates)
The versatility of Tlolane has come in handy for Maritzburg, especially given that they have a rather thin squad. The 26-year-old has formed a productive combination with skipper Thabiso Kutumela.
With Pirates’ first-choice left-back Innocent Maela having struggled for form this season, Tlolane could be the solution in the new season to compete with Paseka Mako and the injury-prone Bongani Sam. Tlolane can also help in attacking positions where the likes of Vincent Pule and Kabelo Dlamini operate.
Gladwin Shitolo (Arrows from Pirates)
Shitolo’s leadership traits and experience have rubbed off on a number of Arrows youngsters like Nkosinathi Sibisi and Sandile Zuke, who have both spoken openly about the big role the 31-year-old defender-cum-midfielder has played in their growth this season.
With Thulani Hlatshwayo still trying to find his feet and Happy Jele ageing, Pirates could need Shitolo next season, especially to impart his knowledge to younger defenders the club may buy.
Sibusiso Magaqa (Royal AM from AmaZulu)
The skilful 22-year-old midfielder has been one of Royal’s consistent players in their push for automatic promotion.
With Usuthu likely to compete in the CAF Champions League next season, coach Benni McCarthy may be tempted to widen his pool of players and Magaqa has what it takes to be a squad player. He provided five assists in as many second-tier games this term.
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