We take a look at the players who have sparkled since joining Chiefs, Pirates and Sundowns at the beginning of this season.
Eyebrows were raised when Chiefs brought in Nurkovic, an unknown 27 year-old Serbian, though the striker had come off an excellent season in the Slovakian second division with Komalmo. But Nurkovic has slotted into the Chiefs team perfectly, a number nine who can both link the play and hit the back of the net, as Amakhosi have surged to the top of the Absa Premiership. He already has six goals in all competitions this season, forming a very dangerous attacking trio with Leonardo Castro and Khama Billiat.
Durban-born Australian Kearyn Baccus has impressed so much for Kaizer Chiefs this season, that Bafana Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki is already talking about bringing him into the national team. Baccus has given Amakhosi extra class in central midfield this campaign, and already has a goal and two assists to his name in the Absa Premiership.
Rulani Mokwena has been much-criticised since taking over at Pirates from Milutin Sredojevic, but one young striker that the Pirates coach must certainly get credit for unleashing is Tshegofatso Mabasa. The 23 year-old joined the Buccaneers this season from Bloemfontein Celtic, and already has six goals in ten league appearances, including a candidate for goal of the season in a 4-3 defeat by Bidvest Wits.
Mhango had a fairly slow start to his Pirates career, after coming in from Bidvest Wits this season, though he did net in the Buccaneers’ season opener against Bloemfontein Celtic, a 3-1. The Malawian striker then played in consecutive goalless draws and was relegated to the bench for a time by Mokwena. Mhango found form in November to net in both of his first two Soweto derbies, though in both games, in the Telkom Knockout and the Absa Premiership, Kaizer Chiefs got the better of Pirates.
Pitso Mosimane hasn’t changed his squad up much this season, but one man who has come on board to fine effect is Uruguayan striker Mauricio Affonso. Injury meant Affonso had to wait a while to make his debut, though he did come off the bench to net his first goal at the end of September in an 11-1 Caf Champions League win over Cote D’or. The following month, Affonso also netted on his domestic debut, coming off the bench to head in Sundowns’ fifth goal in a 5-0 win over AmaZulu, before netting the winner in a league game against Highlands Park a few days later. Affonso also scored for Sundowns on Saturday as they beat Petro de Luanda 3-0, and has already proved a far better buy for Masandawana than Jeremy Brockie ever did.