Top strik­ers

Kick Off - - INSIDE -

Who have been the lead­ing strik­ers since the for­ma­tion of the Premier Soc­cer league?

Do­mes­tic foot­ball has been blessed with great strik­ers with nat­u­ral scor­ing abil­ity, who pro­vided great po­tency in the op­po­si­tion’s penalty box. KICK OFF’s Love­more Moyo com­piles our list of the Top 10 for­wards that have graced the do­mes­tic scene since the start of the Premier Soc­cer League in the 1996/97 sea­son.

1 Daniel Mu­dau Starts/goals: 260/110

‘Mam­bush’ was a busy for­ward whose game re­volved around his pace and scor­ing goals. By the time the PSL came into life he was al­ready an es­tab­lished for­ward with his break into topflight foot­ball hav­ing come back in 1992.

He played in the PSL from age 28 on­wards but still scored at an av­er­age of 2.36 games per goal, after hav­ing slammed an­other 70 in the NSL era.

He was slow off the mark into his PSL ca­reer but then after turn­ing 30 his scor­ing numbers for the next four sea­sons read 26, 21, 23 and 17, prov­ing how much of a se­rial scorer he was, even into his 30s.

Though rel­a­tively tiny in build, he com­pen­sated his lack of physique with com­mit­ment that is yet to be matched in the do­mes­tic game to date. Mu­dau played for all his ca­reer in do­mes­tic foot­ball re­tir­ing dur­ing the 2004/05 sea­son after mak­ing just three ap­pear­ances. He scored the goals that won Sun­downs the league in three sea­sons, as well as the BOB Save Su­per Bowl and Roth­mans Cup.

2 Wil­fred Mugeyi Starts/goals: 199/91

The ‘Sil­ver Fox’ ar­rived at Um­tata Bush Bucks in 1993 after hav­ing won the league the pre­vi­ous year with Black Aces back home in Zim­babwe.

His to­tal of 113 goals (in­clud­ing goals scored pre-PSL) for Bush Bucks is an all-time record for the club, and he net­ted 27 goals in the 27 games in all com­pe­ti­tions in the in­au­gu­ral PSL sea­son, walk­ing away as the league’s top scorer, PSL Foot­baller of the Sea­son and the Play­ers’ Player of the Sea­son.

He then scored eight in 19 starts the next year be­fore leav­ing for China. Upon his re­turn he was al­ready 30, but man­aged 35 goals in 99 starts through the three-and-a-half years that he spent back in the Eastern Cape.

When Bush Bucks was rel­e­gated in 2003, he joined Ajax Cape Town, scor­ing 13 goals

be­fore leav­ing for Free State Stars 18 months later, where he added an­other five as Ea Lla Koto were also rel­e­gated.

For a man who was al­ready 27 when the PSL started, his re­turn of 91 goals in 199 starts still hands him a re­turn of a goal in ev­ery 2.19 games.

“What made me score goals was down to con­fi­dence, which all starts with work­ing hard at train­ing. At Bush Bucks I used to have com­pe­ti­tion with Bran­don Au­gus­tine.

For in­stance, if we were do­ing shoot­ing at train­ing, we would have a com­pe­ti­tion to de­ter­mine who scored more goals and that is where you build your con­fi­dence. Then come week­end the con­fi­dence is high, and you are look­ing to do what you were do­ing at train­ing. Se­condly, be­ing at the right place at the right time, which comes from tim­ing your runs. Thirdly, it is com­po­sure be­cause you need to be calm in the box. You know that they say, ‘if you don’t shoot then you don’t score’. It is all about hit­ting the tar­get. If the keeper saves then so be it be­cause he is do­ing his job but as a striker you need to hit the tar­get be­cause any­thing can hap­pen,” ex­plains Mugeyi.

3 Pollen Nd­lanya Starts/goals: 121/68

‘ Tromp­ies’ played for Kaizer Chiefs and Man­ning Rangers in the pre-PSL era and had al­ready been back with AmaKhosi for over two years in Au­gust 1996 be­fore the start of the PSL. When he left for Turk­ish club Bur­sas­por just past the halfway mark of the 1996/97 sea­son he had al­ready scored 10, and then upon his re­turn to Chiefs after bat­tling in Turkey, he smashed 29 in all com­pe­ti­tions in the 1998/99 sea­son.

He then re­turned to Turkey but this time for Goztepe, but shortly after­wards came back and scored six goals in nine games for AmaZulu in their failed bid to stay up in the 1999/2000 sea­son.

After turn­ing 30 five months into the new mil­len­nium, he joined Or­lando Pi­rates, scor­ing 16 in his first year be­fore adding seven in his last sea­son.

Nd­lanya’s has an im­pres­sive re­turn of 1.78 games per goal. Through the PSL era he won the Roth­mans Cup at Chiefs and then added the league and BP Top 8 at Pi­rates.

“With me it was all down to be­ing pushed by the na­ture of com­pe­ti­tion that I faced. When you com­pete against the best strik­ers like Mam­bush, the late Ch­esa Mpama [De­nis Lota] and Jerry [Sikhosana], it means you are up against the best and I wanted to be the best. That would then en­cour­age me to score goals con­sis­tently, which is why I went over­seas,” says Nd­lanya.

4 Raphael Chukwu Starts/goals: 124/63

Chukwu was feared by de­fend­ers dur­ing his prime be­cause he was force­ful and able to score goals from dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions at Mamelodi Sun­downs.

He first ar­rived at The Brazil­ians in the months lead­ing to the start of the PSL, and the ‘Chukwu Train’ man­aged dou­ble fig­ures for the first three sea­sons.

After a year strug­gling at Ital­ian club Bari, he came back on loan and was again in dou­ble fig­ures after scor­ing 14.

He re­turned for a third spell in 2002/03, but the goals were dry­ing up as he added just two more in seven starts.

He again left for Europe, this time Turkey and Çaykur Rize­s­por, and came back for one last dance in the 2004/05 sea­son, which didn’t pro­duce much as he bat­tled in­juries clos­ing in on his 30th birth­day.

In the end the Nige­rian for­ward av­er­aged 1.97 games per goal through his four spells with Sun­downs, where he won the league and BOB Save Su­per Bowl. He was voted the PSL Player of the Year, joint Play­ers’ Player of the Year and KICK­OFF Foot­baller of the Year in the 1997/98 sea­son.

What makes Tico-Tico’s case spe­cial is that he scored most of his goals not play­ing for any of the tra­di­tional gi­ants but rather a team with a small bud­get like Jomo Cos­mos.

The Mozam­bi­can has scored the most goals for a South African club of all for­eign­born play­ers to ever fea­ture in the PSL, and av­er­aged a goal in ev­ery 2.70 games that he started.

Tico-Tico was a reg­u­lar starter at Cos­mos and went into dou­ble fig­ures in the first three PSL sea­sons, and while he also had stints in China and the USA, his record shows that he reached dou­ble fig­ures in seven of the first eight full sea­sons that he spent in the PSL, winning the Coca-Cola Cup and SAA Supa8 Cup.

His has proven a won­der­ful per­son­al­ity as well and re­mains Mozam­bique’s most capped player and record goal scorer.

“At Cos­mos we were a team that al­ways had to dig deep for re­sults but luck­ily for me Bra J [Jomo Sono] gave me all the con­fi­dence that I needed,” he said.

“Bra J was smart be­cause he al­ways knew how to keep me de­liv­er­ing through all the years that I spent at Cos­mos. Maybe the plus was that Cos­mos was a team that played in a way that suited me, which is why I was able to score so many goals.

“What shouldn’t be for­got­ten was that there were al­ways other qual­ity strik­ers that I played with like Nuro [Amiro Tual­ibu­dine], [Nkosi­nathi] Nh­leko, Ben­jani [Mwaruwari], Esau [Kanyenda], Rus­sell [Mwa­fulirwa] and oth­ers who all con­trib­uted to the goals that I scored,” says the re­tired for­ward.

6 Siyabonga Nomvethe Starts/goals: 267/123

Such was Nomvethe’s ef­fi­ciency and longevity in the game that his 123 goals came de­spite spend­ing seven-and-a-half years of his ca­reer play­ing in Europe.

‘Bhele’ was a hit in his de­but sea­son of 1997/98, smash­ing 11 goals for African Wan­der­ers, which led to the move to Kaizer Chiefs, where he spent three years.

After a slow start with eight goals in his in­jury-dis­turbed first year, he then struck 20 in all com­pe­ti­tions in his sec­ond dur­ing a cam­paign in which he fought it out with Daniel Mu­dau and Den­nis Lota in the scor­ing charts.

In his last sea­son be­fore leav­ing for Italy, he scored 18, leav­ing a last­ing im­pres­sion at Na­turena where he also won sil­ver­ware with the club.

On his re­turn from Europe, he had a brief spell with Or­lando Pi­rates, but it was with Moroka Swal­lows that he scored the most goals (58) and won the top goal scorer award.

He played for AmaZulu past his 41st birth­day, and over­all av­er­aged 2.17 games per goal.

7 De­nis Lota Starts/goals: 175/74

The late Zam­bian for­ward was a poacher who was al­ways pa­tient enough in wait­ing to make the right moves into the box and go for the kill.

Lota joined Or­lando Pi­rates hav­ing al­ready played ex­ten­sively back home, along with hav­ing spent time at Wit­bank Aces and in Switzer­land. He was frus­trat­ingly slow in his first sea­son in 1998/99, scor­ing just four goals in 19 starts, but then once he had set­tled in his sec­ond year, he was the league’s top scorer with 18 goals and was again in dou­ble fig­ures the fol­low­ing year as Pi­rates won the league and BP Top 8.

He then strangely moved to play in the First Di­vi­sion for Dan­ger­ous Darkies and City Sharks, but was then back in the PSL with Moroka Swal­lows at the start of the 2003/04 sea­son.

He went into dou­ble fig­ures (14) again in his first sea­son in the Birds’ Nest as they won the ABSA Cup. The fol­low­ing year he again got into dou­ble fig­ures but then again went to play in lower di­vi­sions with Raiders and FC AK.

Next up was a move to AmaZulu where he helped them avoid the drop after join­ing dur­ing the sec­ond half of the 2006/07 sea­son. Lota stayed on into the next cam­paign, but strug­gled with in­juries be­fore bow­ing out.

In the PSL he had an av­er­age of 2,36 games started per goal.

“I rated Den­nis highly be­cause I played with him at Pi­rates. He was so calm in the way he played that when he scored his goals, he just picked the spot in­stead of killing the keeper. He was a clever striker who knew how to po­si­tion him­self. He was a quiet char­ac­ter who un­der­stood the game,” says Pollen Nd­lanya.

Mab­huti Khenyeza Starts/goals: 281/110

Khenyeza played all his ca­reer for lo­cal clubs, start­ing at La­montville Golden Ar­rows in 2002, where he later had an­other spell, be­fore stints with Kaizer Chiefs, Ajax Cape Town (twice), Mamelodi Sun­downs, Su­perS­port United, Mpumalanga Black Aces and AmaZulu, where he re­tired last year.

He had his share of dis­ci­pline-re­lated mat­ters and con­tro­versy as well at most clubs that he played for, but you could never doubt his pas­sion and ap­pli­ca­tion, which is why he lasted 17 sea­sons in the game.

He won the Telkom Knock­out twice, the Ned­bank Cup, and scored 23 goals in all com­pe­ti­tions dur­ing the 2008/09 sea­son. He started 281 games through his ca­reer and av­er­aged 2.55 games per goal.

Khenyeza was the kind of for­ward who spe­cialised in ha­rass­ing op­po­nents.

Collins Mbe­suma Starts/goals: 223/102

What ‘Nto­fontofo’ did dur­ing the re­mark­able sea­son 15 years ago might just never be re­peated again.

A re­turn of 35 goals in all com­pe­ti­tions sounds way too in­cred­i­ble for do­mes­tic foot­ball stan­dards where strik­ers strug­gle to reach dou­ble fig­ures. Mbe­suma didn’t play much in the 2003/04 sea­son when he made his de­but, end­ing with two goals in four starts due to in­juries.

The fol­low­ing sea­son he sent warn­ings about how deadly he is as early as the first game when he scored a hat-trick against Dy­namos and by the time the sea­son ended he had 35 in all com­pe­ti­tions, winning the Golden Boot and PSL’s Player of the Year, while Chiefs were league and Coca-Cola Cup cham­pi­ons.

He then left for Europe with 37 goals in 46 starts for Chiefs but four years later he was back in the PSL play­ing for Mamelodi Sun­downs, Moroka Swal­lows, Golden Ar­rows, Or­lando Pi­rates, Mpumalanga Black Aces and High­lands Park.

He won the Golden Boot again four years ago and was an African cham­pion with Zam­bia in 2012.

He av­er­ages 2.19 games per goal in the PSL and is still scor­ing the goals in the GladAfrica Cham­pi­onship, play­ing for

Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria after hav­ing done duty for Mac­cabi FC the pre­vi­ous year.

Knowl­edge Mu­sona Starts/goals: 74/44

‘Kn­odgy’ was an un­known teenager to most when he was signed by Kaizer Chiefs from Zim­babwe in June 2009.

The pes­simists were quick to raise their voices in ask­ing why Chiefs would sign an untested young­ster who hadn’t even played topflight foot­ball in his home coun­try.

Mu­sona was quick to si­lence his doubters though, scor­ing on de­but and go­ing on to reach 28 goals in 49 starts within two years, in­clud­ing 20 in his sec­ond year.

As he cel­e­brated his 21st birth­day, Chiefs and the PSL had shrunk into a smaller stage for his tal­ents and he headed to the Ger­man Bun­desliga. He came back to Chiefs on loan and net­ted 16 in 25 starts be­fore head­ing back to Europe, where he has been ever since.

An av­er­age of a goal ev­ery 1.68 games achieved at Chiefs is made all the more sweet by the fact that it was all be­fore he turned 24.

Dur­ing his time at the club, Mu­sona who won the Telkom Knock­out twice with Chiefs.

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