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Bafana Bafana's goalscorers: PSL numbers reveal major problem

22:16 GMT+3 20/12/2022
Peter Shalulile, Mamelodi Sundowns, May 2022
The recently-completed 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar reminded us that South Africa has not qualified for the tournament since 2002 (Japan/South Korea)

A look at the PSL goalscoring charts highlights Bafana Bafana’s ongoing Achilles Heel – a shortage of consistent scorers.

Following the trend

Currently, there are only three South African-born strikers sitting in the top seven positions of the leading scorers list - which is made of players who have scored four or more goals.

Top with six goals each are Kaizer Chiefs’ Burundian marksman Bonfils-Caleb Bimenyimana, Mamelodi Sundowns’ Namibian sharp-shooter Peter Shalulile and SuperSport United’s veteran forward Bradley Grobler - who turns 35 next month.

Apart from Grobler the other local-born players in the top seven are Khanyisa Mayo of Cape Town City and Golden Arrows winger Pule Mmodi, a reported target for Kaizer Chiefs, who both have four goals.

Last season of course saw Shalulile running away with the Golden Boot after scoring 23 goals and he was joined in the top three by Cameroon forward Bienvenu Eva Nga, now with Orlando Pirates but then at Chippa United.

The only South African in the top three last season was Victor Letsoalo, who has lost his goalscoring form this term.

The season before (20/ 21) at least saw a South African winning the Golden Boot – Grobler. But before that was a hat-trick of foreign-born forwards as Shalulile, Gabadinho Mhango (Malawi) and Mwape Musonda (Zambia), scooped three respective Golden Boot awards.

Overall, in 28 seasons of PSL football, only 15 Golden Boot winners have been South African. And several of those have been one-hit wonders – the likes of Moeketsi Sekola, Jacky Ledwaba, Rodney Ramagalela and Lebohang Manyama for example.

Hunting abroad

Of course, there are some options overseas, though none of the current options have been in red-hot goalscoring form either.

Lyle Foster and Fagrie Lakay are good prospects, though with Percy Tau having injury issues, Bongokuhle Hlongwane, 22, is arguably Bafana’s most potent marksman at the moment.

Over the years there have been too many false dawns of overseas-based strikers coming to the rescue as the likes of Lebo Mothiba, Kermit Erasmus, Davide Somma and Thulani Serero weren’t able to deliver consistent goals.

Overall – looking home and abroad - Bafana coach Hugo Broos is not spoilt for choice and longer term, the shortage of goalscorers in the PSL is surely an issue which needs to be fixed.

For too long have we been crying out for the next Benni McCarthy, Shaun Bartlett, Katlego Mphela, Lesley Manyathela or Siyabonga Nomvethe.