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Kaizer Chiefs signing Du Preez could be risky

15:23 GMT 29/01/2022
Ashley Du Preez
Playing for Coastal United on Saturday the Capetonian scored the first goal of the final - beating Warriors and Amakhosi keeper Itumeleng Khune

Talk of Stellenbosch speedster Ashley du Preez joining Kaizer Chiefs is likely to increase after he scored for the second week running in the DStv Compact Cup.

Du Preez netted after just seconds at the FNB Stadium, pouncing on a loose ball and showing incredible pace to outstrip the defence and then fire the ball past Itumeleng Khune, who managed to get a touch but could not keep it out the net.

It was a good finish, although it relied more on power than placement, unlike the scorer of the second goal, the more experienced Ruzaigh Gamildien, who brilliantly put the ball in the top corner for the equaliser and then showed ice-cool nerves with the way he controlled and fired home the late winner for Warriors in their 2-1 victory.

Those may seem like irrelevant points when taken into account that both players put the ball in the back of the net.

But the point here is, for all Du Preez's blistering pace, the 24-year-old has shown over the past couple of seasons that he lacks a bit of composure in front of goal. He does not score as many goals as he could and should, and his league record suggests that too, with 12 goals in 83 matches in the top two divisions.

His lack of a killer touch was shown again later in the Compact Cup final when he squandered a couple of good chances to add a second.

Of course, it's possible that the Stellies striker can improve that part of his game, and we’ve seen glimpses of that this season in the PSL. Whether it's developing fast enough for a player in his mid-20's and who made his professional debut six seasons back, remains questionable.

Likely the fastest player in the league, Du Preez could be a world-beater if he was able to maintain a bit more composure and make the right decisions when in full flight.

It's the mental side of the game which needs to improve. And at a club like Chiefs, there will be far more pressure than he's used to at Stellenbosch, not a situation in which it’s easy to develop.

Imagine Du Preez to arrive in January or even in July, as a big-money signing, expected to be the man to turn a floundering Amakhosi around?

It's not the kind of environment in which he may need at the moment - perhaps he may be ready in another season or two. Or what might be an even better option would be to head overseas to a country like Belgium, France or the Netherlands for further development, rather than to South Africa’s biggest club where the spotlight burns bright.

If anything, with his two sublime finishes, it was Gamildien who upped his own case to sign for Chiefs. At 32-years-old though, the Swallows man is on the back-end of his career and comes with his own set of pros and cons.