3. Nt­shangase makes Chiefs tick

Soccer Laduma - - Make Your Point -

In re­cent games, the coach has not trusted Nt­shangase to play in a cen­tral mid­field two, and with no flex­i­bil­ity in the for­ma­tions he uses, there is no other po­si­tion for him to play. With­out him in the side, Chiefs’ build- up play suf­fers hugely and Chiefs’ cen­tral de­fend­ers of­ten have to play long passes to Cas­tro. Maluleka is a de­cent passer, but along­side some­one whose dis- tri­b­u­tion is as lim­ited as Kat­sande’s, an out­stand­ing deep- ly­ing play­maker is needed.

If we look at the re­spec­tive sta­tis­tics of the Soweto giants’ four cen­tral mid­field op­tions, we can see how much extra im­pact Nt­shangase has in the fi­nal third, mak­ing 19.2% of his passes in that area of the pitch at a highly im­pres­sive 80.5% ac­cu­racy. An­dri­ami­rado An­dri­a­na­ri­manana com­pleted 100% of his passes in the fi­nal third, but he makes only 2.1 per game so is barely seen in for­ward ar­eas – so far at least. Wil­lard Kat­sande also only makes 3.1 fi­nal third passes per game. This is of course not his role, but it shows the re­liance on Nt­shangase to get the ball into dan­ger­ous ar­eas.

What th­ese stats show is that with ‘Stash’ in the team, Chiefs have far more link from de­fence to mid­field to at­tack when he is on the pitch, whereas Maluleka is ex­cel­lent at keep­ing the ball, but with much safer passes. Nat­u­rally, with one mid­fielder push­ing into the fi­nal third as of­ten as Nt­shangase does, Amakhosi are a much more at­tack­ing and en­ter­tain­ing team, but can leave them­selves open on the counter-at­tack.

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