Soccer Laduma - - Make Your Point -

The In­cum­bent: De­nis Onyango (33 years old)

In the Ugan­dan’s first two sea­sons at Mamelodi Sun­downs, he played only one match and spent his third sea­son out on loan at Bid­vest Wits, where he barely fea­tured. He made just four league ap­pear­ances for The Clever Boys as he played sec­ond fid­dle to Moe­neeb Josephs and few ex­pected him to dis­place Kennedy Mweene upon his re­turn to Masan­dawana. How­ever, by half­way through the 2014/15 sea­son, he was the club’s num­ber one. He has not looked back since, lead­ing Downs to two league ti­tles and the 2016 CAF Cham­pi­ons League crown, and was named the 2017 CAF Player of the Year for African-based play­ers.

Last sea­son, Onyango was as good as ever, keep­ing 12 clean sheets in his 25 Absa Premier­ship matches, and he has started this sea­son strongly too. How­ever, at 33 years of age, it is cru­cial for Downs to have a suc­ces­sion plan. Mweene is the same age as Onyango, whilst Thela Ngobeni has just over six months on his con­tract and is not highly rated aeri­ally by Pitso Mosi­mane, a cru­cial at­tribute for the coach.

The Suc­ces­sor: Reyaad Pi­eterse (26 years old)

With the ad­vanc­ing years of Onyango and Mweene, it was cru­cial to sign a younger goal­keeper to start the tran­si­tion to a fresher op­tion in this area of the pitch, even if Onyango could play at a high level for a cou­ple more years. Pi­eterse lost the goal­keeper bat­tle at Su­perS­port United to Ron­wen Wil­liams and has not played a great deal of foot­ball since leav­ing Kaizer Chiefs. His Sun­downs de­but was marked by a bad er­ror against AmaZulu and, un­less he starts to show him­self as a re­li­able op­tion, it may take him a cou­ple of sea­sons to win the num­ber one jer­sey.

Ver­dict: Sun­downs cur­rently have an out­stand­ing in­cum­bent in Onyango, and a good, but er­ror-prone man wait­ing in the wings in Pi­eterse. This de­part­ment looks in ex­cel­lent shape for com­ing sea­sons.

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