After a four and a half month layoff, local soccer will return on the 8th of August. I, @cheezfootball, will be ranking players in every position. Today I will begin with ranking the best defenders of the season so far.
10. Tebogo Langerman (Mamelodi Sundowns)
One of the most consistent fullbacks in the league for so many years. It’s a shame how Tebogo Langerman has been overlooked for the national team. He can cross the ball. Langerman isn’t the quickest and I hate it when he takes shots at goal from seven kilometers away but he is an offensive threat.
9. Clayton Daniels (Supersport United)
Daniels at 36, has aged well like wine. Not the Four Cousins type but the type to make it to the Woolworths wine section. This year he played a key role in Supersport United’s MTN 8 triumph. He is strong, wily, and has a good positional sense. Daniels does have the habit of diving into tackles. This gets him in trouble with the referees but, overall he is solid.
8. Buhle Mkhwanazi (Bidvest Wits)
Mkhwanazi has had another great season with Wits and Bafana teammate (who we will get to later). The pair of formidable. Tyson provides the aggression Buhle the calm and composure. He is great in the air, well-composed, and knows the game.
7. Motjeka Madisha (Mamelodi Sundowns)
After his breakout season in 2017/18, Madisha didn’t feature much for Sundowns last season. Last year he picked up the unfortunate habit of making mistakes that led to goals. Madisha has played himself back into Pitso Mosimane’s team. He is fearless, a fighter, with ball-playing skills.
6. Rushine De Reuck (Maritzburg United)
I didn’t know anything about Rushine De Reuck. He doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. But this boy is a baller. He is a young, strong like a bull, aggressive, and has finesse to his game too.
5. Daniel Cardoso (Kazier Chiefs)
Even with Kaizer Chiefs’ uncertain goalkeeping situation, Cardoso and his partner Eric Mathoho have been a stingy defensive pair. Cardoso is vigorous in the challenge, good in the air, and can pass the ball like a midfielder. He does have trouble with the quicker more skillful players sometimes but, he more than holds his own.
4. Happy Jele (Orlando Pirates)
The captain of Orlando Pirates Happy Jele has grown to be one of the best players at his position in the league over the years. He is superb in the air, not afraid to put his body on the line to stop shots, and a reliable leader.
3. Thulani Hlatshwayo (Bidvest Wits)
After the sale of Bidvest to TTM the Wits captain has had a queue as long as the Home Affairs in downtown Johannesburg begging for his signature. Tyson is sort after because he has been one of the best defenders in the league this season and generally for a long time. He has had another great season. He is bullish in the air, strong in the tackle, and deceptively quick over the ground.
2. Siyanda Xulu (Maritzburg United)
Siyanda Xulu and his partner Rushine De Reuck have been key to Maritzburg’s surprise top-five standing this season. He may be off to Israel after signing a two-year deal with Hapoel Tel Aviv FC in Israel but I had to include him in this list. Xulu is a calm athletic ball-playing defender who knows football.
1. Eric Mathoho (Kaizer Chiefs)
For the past couple of years, Mathoho missed games due to injuries and dip in form. Mulomowandau used to dominate opposition players on the ground and in the air. But, not anymore.
This season, however, he is back to his old self. Mathoho is a very important player in Ernst Middendorp’s log leading team. His defending has been sublime, when not in the team his absence has been felt, and he has even pitched in with a couple of important goals.
By @cheezfootball (the greatest footy journo on the internet)