The 2018 January transfer window slammed shut on Wednesday night following a month that was filled with twists and turns.
Amakhosi had to put up a strong fight to land Siphelele Ntsangase from Baroka, while Sundowns
Goal selects three winners and three losers of the transfer window in no particular order.
WINNERS: MAMELODI SUNDOWNS
While there’s still uncertainty over the futures of their key players, including that of Khama Billiat, the Brazilians did their business quietly, and caught the big fish in Jeremy Brockie,
They also added Aubrey Ngoma, Gaston Leandro Sirino and Siyabonga Zulu to their squad, and allowed a few of their players to go out on loan for the remainder of the season.
The 2016 African champions demonstrated just how serious they are about dominating the PSL and again conquering the continent by finding replacements for those who could be leaving the club in the near future.
Pitso Mosimane identified what his team’s weaknesses could be going forward, and the club’s willingness to spend on quality players certainly did him a world of good, meaning that he can still afford to lose Billiat to whichever club when the attacker's contract expires in June.
The fact that he also managed to hold on to Percy Tau, at least for the next six months, highlights the club’s mission and intention to win their third league title in a short period of time. This was a smart move by the Tshwane giants, and they are one of the deserved winners of the January transfer window.
WINNERS: KAIZER CHIEFS
Amakhosi could have simply added a few more players, especially upfront where they haven’t been scoring too many goals, but the addition of Leonardo Castro eased the pressure on Steve Komphela and his technical team.
They also brought in Siphelele Ntshangase from Baroka for a fee believed to be in the region of R2 million. Kabelo Mahlasela also joined them from Bloemfontein Celtic and those three signings certainly gave Amakhosi fans a renewed sense of belief going into the final matches of the season.
As expected though, some fans are still not entirely satisfied with how the club handled their dealings, as Chiefs were expected to replace the injured Mahlasela with another winger, especially after Bobby Motaung assured them that a few more signings were on their way.
The departure of Lorenzo Gordinho to Bloemfontein Celtic also left a bittersweet taste to the Amakhosi faithful, but overall, the club had a decent transfer window because for once in many years, they signed quality players with the capacity to take the club to greater heights.
WINNERS: CAPE TOWN CITY
The Citizens lost Ngoma to Sundowns, but they made some great signings, and the 27-year-old left-footed winger will hardly be missed.
Signing Bradley Ralani, Kenyan striker Masoud Juma and winger Allan Kateregga was a stroke of genius from Benni McCarthy, who knew that his squad needed more experienced players, especially now that they will be competing in the Caf Confederation Cup.
He also brought in Kwanda Mngonyama as a replacement for Robyn Johannes, who will be returning to Gauteng to join Bidvest Wits in the upcoming season.
Matthew Rusike has also joined the side on a free transfer to add more firepower upfront.
The only disappointment would be their failure to add a goalkeeper to their ranks. They were interested in signing Brilliant Khuzwayo from Kaizer Chiefs, but with the lanky shot-stopper certainly not staying at the Naturena-based club beyond June 2018, all is not lost as there is still a chance for City to try and lure him to the Mother City for the new season.
LOSER: ERIC TINKLER
Tinkler knew from the first day he arrived at the club that he would lose Jeremy Brockie to one of the big teams in the PSL, but he actually took his time to find a suitable replacement for the New Zealand international and at times, appeared to be more relaxed over the situation.
Although he ended up signing Evans Rusike from Maritzburg United and Mogakolodi Ngele on loan from Sundowns, Tinkler could have perhaps convinced Brockie to stay for the remainder of the season given how poor his side has been in front of goal.
The 47-year-old mentor also failed dismally to refresh the squad which hasn’t had enough rest over the past 10 months due to their Caf commitments.
Take nothing away from Evans Rusike – he is a quality striker, but it will take a few weeks for him to find his feet at Matsatsantsa, and while the club will be waiting for him to settle down, there’s this possibility that they will continue dropping points the same way they did against AmaZulu on Wednesday night.
LOSERS: MARITZURG UNITED
The Team of Choice had some good plans for the campaign, and they looked well on course to achieving great success with Rusike in the squad.
However, they may have to rethink after deciding to sell the man who single-handedly put them where they are on the log table to date.
They previously managed to fend off interest from some of the big teams in the PSL, and they could have done the same by holding on to their star striker for another six months to see if they can better their last season’s position and perhaps reach the semi-finals of the 2018 Nedbank Cup.
Some would point to the acquisition of William Twala from Amakhosi, but the winger doesn't have goals in him and cannot filll the void left by Rusike.
The departure of Rusike is a step in the wrong direction for Maritzburg, and they will need a striker as good as the Zimbabwe international in the new season.
LOSERS: ORLANDO PIRATES
The Sea Robbers needed to box smart, but they didn’t really come to the party in this transfer window.
A quality centre-back would have been a welcome addition to the side that has struggled with consistency in defence, but Bucs opted to sign a right-back in Diamond Thopola as well as Phetso Maphanga, who plays as a left-back.
Their defensive frailties were exposed badly by a struggling Ajax Cape Town side in the Mother City on Wednesday night. The Urban Warriors thumped Bucs 3-0; their first win over their Soweto opponents in seven years.
Mind you, Micho Sredojevic still has Happy Jele, Ntsikelelo Nyausa and Mthokosizi Dube at right-back, while Innocent Maela, Thabo Matlaba, Nkosinathi Mthiyane and Marc van Heerden are among the left-backs. Where will Thopola and Maphanga fit in?
He also has too many central midfielders in Thamsanqa Sangweni, Issa Sarr, Musa Nyatama, Marshall Munetsi, who has been playing as a centre-back lately, but he opted to sign Xola Mlambo. Perhaps certain players should have been loaned out or released to free up the space.
As things stand, some players might not even get the chance to play this season, and that could somewhat dampen the morale of the team in the remaining matches of the campaign.
Pirates must be commended for signing Augustine Mulenga from Zanaco, even though the South African public know very little about him.