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Mbule: Can Baxter get more from Kaizer Chiefs without signing SuperSport United ace?

11:58 GMT 18/01/2022
SuperSport United, Sipho Mbule
The Bafana Bafana midfielder has been with Matsatsantsa since 2016, having arrived from a brief spell with the Orlando Pirates reserve side

Talk has been gathering momentum of late that Kaizer Chiefs are set to sign SuperSport United midfielder Sipho Mbule.

While speculation that Mbule is on the way to Chiefs has been increasing in recent days, it’s also worth remembering that for the past two or three transfer windows, Mbule as well as his central midfield partner and fellow Harmony Academy product Teboho Mokoena, were both reportedly set to sign for Amakhosi.

Is the grass greener?

There is no question of Mbule’s talent. But that does not mean that Chiefs don’t have talent in the midfield department as it is.

If the 23-year-old Mbule did sign, it could mean less game-time for the highly promising Nkosingiphile Ngcobo and Njabulo Blom. It would also cast doubt on whether Chiefs made the right choice in bringing in the likes of Phathutshedzo Nange and Cole Alexander a little more than six months back.

The thing is, for fans and sometimes coaches as well, there’s always the temptation to believe that the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ – that players from other clubs are better than the ones they currently have.

The question to be asked is, do Chiefs really need Mbule? He would certainly come with a high price tag.

And if they don’t sign him, can results and performances be improved without any mid-season additions to the squad?

The answer to that might well be a yes.

A change of approach

Because it could be argued that Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter has been too conservative this season in terms of playing either three central defenders, and/ or two holding midfielders.

At the same time, he’s been hesitant to insert new signing Njabulo Ngcobo into a two-man central defence.

Perhaps it’s time to place more trust in Ngcobo and play just two central defenders and one midfielder holding player, and throw a bit of caution to the wind and start with more attack-minded players in the starting XI.

Amakhosi certainly have many exciting options at the top end of the field – Keagan Dolly, Khama Billiat, Lebogang Manyama, Samir Nurkovic, Leonardo Castro, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, Dumisani Zuma and Happy Mashiane.

And so if Baxter can unleash more of those players on opposition defenders, Amakhosi may not have to worry about their own defence as much. And they might just find that they don’t really need to fork out millions for Mbule after all.