Winners and losers of the PSL January transfer window

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Bucs were one of the busiest teams last month, while Chiefs did well to tie down their key players, but Mthembu's failed trial was embarrassing

The January transfer window slammed shut on Tuesday after a month of ups and downs for the 16 PSL clubs. Goal picks out three winners and three losers of the mid-season transfer window from all the 16 PSL teams.


WINNERS: ORLANDO PIRATES


Augusto Palacios - Orlando Pirates

Orlando Pirates needed a coach to take over from Augusto Palacios, but bringing in new signings was the most interesting aspect for them in the recently closed transfer window.

The addition of James Okwuosa, Marc van Heerden and Dove Wome as well as the return of attacking midfielder Thembinkosi Lorch underlined their intentions to compete with the best and challenge for the league and the Nedbank Cup.

What is more significant is that three of the four abovementioned players boast international experience, and that alone will be key for them in the second half of the season.

Wome's lack of game time at SuperSport United is worrying and he may need time to settle down at Mayfair, but he's a quality player who always gives his all on the pitch, and Pirates fans should look forward to exciting times ahead.

He has been rescued from a terrible nightmare in Tshwane, and he will be eager to prove that he still has what it takes to play at this level.

Pirates identified their weaknesses both in defense and upfront, and one would argue that they needed Okwuosa, Van Heerden and Wome more to bring back the old good days.     


WINNERS: KAIZER CHIEFS


Eric Mathoho & Lorenzo Gordinho

There were growing concerns that Kaizer Chiefs would lose two of their key defenders in Erick Mathoho and Lorenzo Gordinho in the January transfer window. 

Gordinho spent a week at Aalborg BK where he was hoping to secure a move abroad, but his failure to impress the Danish outfit was Amakhosi's gain. Soon after his return, the 22-year-old centre-back penned a three-year contract.

Mathoho on the other hand, was linked with a possible move to rivals Mamelodi Sundowns, while several European clubs were also believed to be keen on his signature, but Chiefs offered him a new long-term deal to ward off the reported interest. Tower will now remain at Chiefs at least until June 2020.  

Chiefs can now focus on challenging for the league title without worrying about losing the two defenders. 

They were also desperate to sign a quality striker to help solve their goalscoring problems, and in Gustavo Paez, they appear to have found a player capable of doing just that. 

Paez's record from his previous teams is not too impressive, but Steve Komphela was happy with what he saw in him, and now the Italian striker will be expected to hit the ground running. 


WINNER: CHIPPA MPENGESI


Chippa Mpengesi and Shooz Mekutu of Chippa United

Chippa United boss Chippa Mpengesi may have gotten a raw deal from Orlando Pirates as he could only manage to get Justice Chabalala, Sello Jaftha, Donald Mokondelela on loan for the remainder of the season.   

However, these three players more than capable of taking the Chilli Boys to greater heights this season. 

Chabalala doesn't need introduction. His impressive record of four man of the match awards in just 10 matches swept everyone off their feet. 

Jaftha and Mokondelela will definitely need time to regain their fitness levels as they were not regulars at Pirates, but Dan Malesela knows how to help young players reach their potential, and Mpengesi can still aim high despite the fact that there's a possibility of losing all three of them at the of the season. 


LOSER: KGOLOKO THOBEJANE


Kgoloko Thobejani of Baroka FC

Kgoloko Thobejane won the plaudits for helping Baroka FC win promotion to the PSL at the end of last season, but he went too far by claiming that he would win the league title in his first season.

His first 15 games in the PSL didn't go according to plan, as the Limpopo-based club finished the year in the bottom half of the log.

Despite his personal magnetism, Thobejane often lacked new ideas and the club needed someone to guide him and steer the team away from the relegation zone in the second round. 

They decided to hire Jacob Sakala as their new head coach and at the same time demote Thobejane, who will now the new assistant at Baroka. 

Surely, Thobejane didn't see this coming, but had no choice but to accept the chairman's decision as the team wasn't improving.


LOSERS: CAPE TOWN CITY


Eric Tinkler

Cape Town City may be considered PSL's dark horses in this season's title race, but they will need depth and experience to beat the likes of SuperSport United and Kaizer Chiefs to the title.

The fact that they dropped points unnecessarily toward the end of last year should have been a warning sign to Eric Tinkler and his technical team that they needed to reinforce the squad.

Chairman John Comitis admitted on transfer deadline day that they were offered former Chelsea and Real Madrid midfielder Michael Essien, but turned the opportunity down.

A lack of finacial might could have led to their decision not to sign the Ghanaian midfielder. 

But sigining Essien would have gone a long way in helping them stay in the race for as long as possible, but instead they opted for inexperienced players such as Siyabonga Dubula and Letsie Koapeng, who are yet to prove themselves at the highest level.


LOSER: SIPHELELE MTHEMBU


Siphelele Mthembu - Kaizer Chiefs

Siphelele Mthembu knew from the beginning of the season that he didn't have a future at Kaizer Chiefs.

His chances of playing regular football under Steve Komphela were non-existent, and he needed to up his game to at least try and attract interest from other PSL teams. 

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Bloemfontein Celtic were keen to bring him on board, and even invited him to train with their first team as the proposed move looked likely.

However, the 29-year-old striker let himself down by failing to secure a short-term deal with his former team. He tried his best, but his best wasn't good enough in the eyes of Lehlohonolo Seema and John Maduka at Celtic, and had to return to Naturena. Mthembu only has himself to blame for not grabbing the opportunity with both hands.  

Chiefs confirmed on Tuesday that they were negotiating terms of his exit, and Mthembu, who showed so much potential two-and-a-half years ago, would be disappointed with the direction his career is about to take, especially after being afford the opportunity to rescue it at Celtic. 

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