With the season coming to an end in two months, clubs like Mamelodi Sundowns will be planning their off-season recruitment.
We look at the stats to identify six players who are performing at the top of their game and could provoke interest from Sundowns in their services.
The SuperSport United man has been linked with Masandawana in recent months. In terms of stats, he has excelled this season, so the interest in him is no surprise. The 23-year-old has scored the first goal in three matches this season, and his 72 total shots are more than any other player, with 2.26 of those from outside the area per 90 minutes. He has also had 26 shots on target, the most in the league. He created 2.82 chances for teammates per 90 minutes, fifth-most in the league. That is more than any Sundowns player besides Gaston Sirino (2.96).
The 25-year-old central midfielder would bring versatility to the Downs squad with his ability to play as a defensive midfielder or in a more attacking role. He has scored the last goal in two matches this season, has five league assists and hits the target with 45.2% of his shots (8th best in the PSL). With the age of the Sundowns midfield pool, bringing in a younger option could give added energy to the side.
The Baroka man has long been linked with the big Gauteng-based clubs. At just 23 years of age, he would freshen up the Sundowns pool of central defenders with Ricardo Nascimento now 32 and Wayne Arendse 34. His 15.2 clearances per game are the 5th most in the PSL, whilst he wins an impressive 70.5% of his duels, the third highest percentage in the league. Banda is left-footed so would ensure the side has balance in their backline as Nascimento gets on in years.
The Kenyan has local residency and has long been touted as a Sundowns target. At just 24, he would also bring younger legs to the backline. His ultra-aggressive style has seen him win 65.9% of his duels this season, a higher percentage than any Downs defender and even better than Thulani Hlatshwayo (65.6%). If Maritzburg United were to be relegated, Onyango could be available at a drop-down price. He also brings an 89.9% passing accuracy, the 5th best in the PSL.
The 22-year-old attacking midfielder has had an excellent season for SuperSport United. As far as his stats go, he is excelling in many categories and attracting the interest of Sundowns. In terms of shooting, he has had 51 shots this season, just four less than Hlompho Kekana. Mokoena won the Goal of the Month for January and has made a habit of scoring stunners, much like Kekana. Mokoena is 11 years younger and could be the ideal replacement in years to come. He has been fouled 42 times in the league this season, the 7th most in the PSL as teams look to close him down aggressively to prevent him taking aim from range.
The Black Leopards winger has gone somewhat under the radar this season, but if Downs are keeping a close eye on the stats, they may have seen his impressive underlying numbers. The wide man has been making an average of 4.0 dribbles per 90 minutes, the 8th most in the PSL and not far behind Sundowns’ leader, Gaston Sirino (4.4 – fourth most in the PSL). Hlongwane is making 17.5 final third passes per 90 minutes this season, the exact same number as Themba Zwane. He is averaging 3.1 shots per 90 and has been fouled 41 times. With Zwane turning 30 soon and Anthony Laffor now 34 years old, Hlongwane could be a decent addition to the attacking midfield pool based on his excellent stats.