Chiefs, Pi­rates need to use trans­fer win­dow wisely

The Star Early Edition - - SOCCER - NJAB­ULO NGIDI

THE JANUARY trans­fer win­dow pe­riod is like a pit stop on a long ride, you can’t dra­mat­i­cally change the course at this stage but you can do some­thing to make the re­main­ing jour­ney smoother.

Clubs that have had a bumpy start will be ea­ger to make the most of this win­dow that opened yes­ter­day and will close at mid­night on the 31st.

And the pe­riod is not only about mak­ing im­me­di­ate sign­ings. It’s also a time to con­sol­i­date for the fu­ture.

A num­ber of con­tracts have six months left on them at this stage, giv­ing clubs the op­por­tu­nity to speak to those play­ers. More im­por­tantly, they can sign them on a pre-con­tract for next sea­son.

This is a pe­riod when when shrewd clubs make huge in­roads with­out spend­ing much, or any­thing. Su­perS­port United and Bid­vest Wits have ex­celled in this, the two clubs bring­ing on board good play­ers who weren’t tied down prop­erly.

Kaizer Chiefs can’t af­ford to only look at the fu­ture with their cur­rent sit­u­a­tion as bleak as it is. Amakhosi need to sign a pro­lific striker as the cur­rent crop has failed. The club will ei­ther have to break the bank to get that striker do­mes­ti­cally or look out­side the bor­ders. It’s a tricky af­fair though be­cause they have gone about sign­ing strik­ers like dy­na­mite fish­ing. They cer­tainly catch plenty but only a few of them are alive enough to of­fer some­thing.

The same can be said for Or­lando Pi­rates and their re­cruit­ing of goal­keep­ers lately.

The Buc­can­neers need to find a re­li­able No 1 ‘keeper if they are to get some­thing from what has been a bad sea­son.

The league’s top three clubs – Su­perS­port, Wits and Cape Town City, along with Mamelodi Sun­downs – need to use this time to bring in cover rather than make mar­quee sign­ings. The Brazil­ians, Mat­sat­santsa and Clever Boys have strong squads but if they are to bal­ance do­mes­tic and con­ti­nen­tal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties they will need cover, es­pe­cially since the fi­nal stretch of the league race will be con­gested after this lengthy break.

City have had a bright start with a con­sis­tent start­ing XI. But they need to add cover for some of the stars who have shone for them so that they aren’t ex­posed when in­juries, sus­pen­sions and the gru­elling sched­ule ahead takes it’s toll.

It’s at the bot­tom – where Free State Stars, High­lands Park and Baroka FC re­side – that ur­gent re-en­force­ments are needed.

Ea Lla Koto will prob­a­bly con­tinue to un­earth gems through the sharp eye of Themba Sit­hole. But they need to bring calm heads to steer them to a safe place after that mas­sive ex­o­dus when the club was up for sale.

The Lions of the North need to beef up their de­fence that hasn’t kept a clean sheet in the league. Bak­gaga also need to shore up at the back, but their tech­ni­cal team is also in need of strength­en­ing. There are re­ports Mark Har­ri­son will join Baroka as tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor. But in lo­cal terms a tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor is nor­mally the guy who will take over when the coach is axed.

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