Mashego pursuit highlights Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana problem position

Themba Zwane of Mamelodi Sundowns challenged by Terrence Mashego of Cape Town City, April 2022Backpagepix

Having struggled for years to find a reliable left-back at Kaizer Chiefs, Terrence Mashego's strong link to the Glamour Boys is unsurprising.

The problem Amakhosi face in trying to lure Mashego to Gauteng is that he’s heavily tied into his contract at Cape Town City. And owner John Comitis has made it clear that he would only consider selling the player to an overseas club.

The challenge, it seems for Chiefs, is that there are not a whole bunch of other options.

And it’s clearly an area they need to address as the likes of Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya, Yagan Sasman, Godfrey Walusimbi, Philani Zulu and Sibusiso Mabiliso all failed to take their chances in that position in recent years.

The latest signing to plug the left-back void, Sifiso Hlanti, showed promise early on before getting injured. But he’s nearing the end of his career, has become injury prone and is not the kind of player who will be giving Amakhosi great speed and energy down the left flank for years to come.

Over the past two seasons, Chiefs have often used Reeve Frosler at left-back (amongst other makeshift options such as Njabulo Blom and Daniel Cardoso).

The former Bidvest Wits man has usually done well, but one has to wonder how much better he would be playing on his stronger side week in, week out. It is probably telling that Frosler has been unable to force his way into the Bafana Bafana squad lately.

Tsepo Masilela, Kaizer Chiefs, March 2016.Gallo

And It’s possibly not since Amakhosi brought Tsepo Masilela back home from overseas – 10 years ago, that they’ve signed a genuine top-quality left full-back who has succeeded at the club.

When it comes to the national team, there also appears to be a shortage of left-back possibilities.

As exhilarating as Mashego has been, he’s still making his way in the game – he has just two seasons of top-flight football to his name and is not yet fully proven internationally.

Mamelodi Sundowns left-back Lyle Lakay, also now in the latter stages of his career, struggled against Morocco and seems better going forward than defending, while Orlando Pirates’ Paseka Mako had his progress halted by a head injury. Those players aside, there are not too many other clear and obvious candidates.

Like the goalkeeping position, South African soccer seems to be lacking in depth at left-back. Worryingly though, the same can be said about the centre of defence, as well as up front in attack. These are though not the best of times for football in this country, as highlighted by head coach Hugo Broos.