COMMENT: Gustavo Paez is showing his class at Kaizer Chiefs

Paez has announced his arrival in the PSL with four goals in hs last five matches in all competitions, silencing his doubters in style

Gustavo Paez arrived at Kaizer Chiefs during the mid-season transfer window as a relatively unknown striker, but he’s gradually becoming a big player under Steve Komphela.

At the time, his signing didn’t make sense to the majority of the Amakhosi fans, who expected the club to sign a ‘proven’ goalscorer to help them solve their goalscoring problems and fight for the league title.

Paez was taunted by a section of football fans, and his previous records didn’t help him either, but he remained calm and let his feet do the work on the field of play.

His first few games weren’t too bad, but everyone expected him to be better than Leonardo Castro, who took the PSL by storm soon after joining the Mamelodi Sundowns over a year ago.

However, Komphela put his foot down and protected his new striker, perhaps because he had seen enough to know that he was a hard-working quality player, and three months later, Paez is one of the players keeping Amakhosi in the title race. 

Since opening his scoring account against Stellenbosh FC in the Nedbank Cup, Paez has been playing with freedom and his confidence is high.

Siphiwe Tshabalala and Gustavo Paez - Kaizer Chiefs

Although he’s expected to score week in and week out, Paez’s work rate is unquestionable. He doesn’t stop chasing, and his off-the-ball movements have improved tremendously - maybe because his teammates understand him better than before.

It was his never say die attitude that saw Bangaly Soumahoro net an own goal when Chiefs beat Sundowns 2-1 over a week ago; this was one big result for the Naturena-based side, who now look like genuine contenders. 

He came off the bench to spare Amakhosi blushes with two beautiful goals against Accornbush United, but those who were still not convinced would not have read too much into the goals, especially because they came against an ABC Motsepe outfit.

But it is how he got into the goalscoring positions leading up to the goals he scored, coupled with his classy execution that makes him a quality striker with the potential to become one of the deadliest in the country.   

Gustavo Paez and Steve Komphela of Kaizer Chiefs

While some believe Paez should be in the starting line-up, his coach thinks otherwise, and he continues to shield the South American marksman in order for him to settle down and get used to his new surroundings.

The move is paying off so far, and there’s vindication, not only for Paez, but Komphela too, especially because he’s had to choose between the Venezuelan and three of his strikers in Lewis Macha, Michelle Katsvairo and Camaldine Abraw since the start of the year.  

He’s more effective coming off the bench, and defenders are battling to deal with him simply because he’s good with and without the ball at his feet, which makes him dangerous.

Paez exploits spaces too well and doesn’t run into a group of defenders because he knows that he doesn’t have a big frame, but can compete against anyone – big or small.   

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Gustavo Paez and Joseph Molangoane - Kaizer Chiefs.

This was evident against Bloemfontein Celtic. He ran in between their two centre-backs, who probably didn’t expect him to be where he was, beating the offside trap in the process, before finishing with aplomb for his fourth of the campaign. It was also his fourth goal in his last five matches for Chiefs.

The 26-year-old is only three months into his career at Chiefs, and he is starting to show his class, and those who doubted his ability as a striker when he first signed for Chiefs are slowly becoming his biggest fans.