The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) mid-season transfer window opened last Wednesday, with most teams scoring low and major concern appears to be on shopping for strikers.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
Since Norman Maroto pumped in 22 goals for Gunners’ championship winning side in the 2010 season, PSL forwards have struggled to reach the 20-goal mark.
Then with Dynamos, Roderick Mutuma won the following season’s golden boot after managing just 14 goals while Nelson Mazivisa struck 18 in 2012 before Tendai Ndoro scored a similar tally the succeeding term.
Last year was the most pathetic in the history of the PSL after then Highlanders’ Charles Sibanda and How Mine’s Kuda Musharu shared top-spot with 12 goals each.
League seasons have seen strikers struggling to reach the 20-goal mark at the end of the term.
The league is in the 15th round of games this weekend and the low-scoring trend appears to have never improved.
Chicken Inn’s Edmore Chirambadare might be a rookie but he has torched the season with eight goals in 14 games.
If Chirambadare continues on the top of scorers until season end, he would become the second Chicken Inn forward to lead the charts within three campaigns.
But Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas still appears keen to reinforce his strikeforce and has already waged an off field war with Highlanders to secure the signature of Ishmael Wadi from Southern Region Division One outfit Bulawayo Chiefs.
Dynamos, however, appear the more serious in adding more bite in their attack as they have already added veteran forward Takesure Chinyama and snapped former Triangle man Richard Kawondera who was also on FC platinum’s radar.
Kawondera so far boasts of four goals, the same as Ronald Chitiyo who is DeMbare’s current high scorer.
“Yes we are worried about the lack of goals. We cannot run away from the fact that we are failing to score and that is why you see Takey [Chinyama] and Kawondera here. They have been training with us for some time now. We know we have a crisis upfront. That is one area we have been working on. We need goals,” said assistant coach Tonderayi Ndiraya.
DeMbare strikers Dominic Chungwa, Farai Mupasiri and injury-prone Simba Nhivi each have one goal.
With 15 goals in 14 games, Highlanders are also not spared of the strikers’ crunch and although they have made it clear to fortify their defence, they have already made clear their forward targets.
By chasing the signature of Chicken Inn target 22-year-old Ishmael Wadi, coach Bongani Mafu seems to be preparing for life after Thomas Chideu who could join South African side Ajax Cape Town.
Chideu is Mafu’s main target man but has managed a miserable goal and Obadiah Tarumbwa is struggling with three goals despite boasting a decade of playing professional football, including stints in Belgium and Cyprus.
Knox Mutizwa has however come to the party for Highlanders with five goals.
Mafu has already shown the exit door to striker Simba Sithole whose season has been undone by injuries.
Seventeen-year-old Obert Tafira has been set as Sithole’s replacement and has been training with the team for some time now.
Elsewhere, Triangle’s 30 goals justify their second position on the log, with Lameck Nhamo their top marksman.
Hillary Bakacheza has contributed three goals but they have already lost Richard Kawondera.
Coach Kelvin Kaindu is not much worried about his frontline and said they will not source from their system to replace Kawondera as they are also considering their limited budget in their transfer business.
“We will have to look around from what we have. It is difficult to look elsewhere because our budget is a bit tight. Chances or going far in search of a striker are very slim,” Kaindu said.
FC Platinum have scored 17 goals, the second-highest tally so far this season, with Walter Musona leading their attack with six goals.
Interestingly for FC Platinum, their goals have failed to offer them dividends by conceding 17 times, the highest in the top-eight.
Following the departure of Donald Ngoma who had five strikes to his name, coach Norman Mapeza has been forced to plug in the gap left by the former Warriors forward and he will do so by replacing him with two players, although from within.
“We had not registered some players in the second half of the season. Now we are going to register Marshall Mudehwe and Stephen Sibanda as replacement for Donald. They play differently to Donald but they are good players. Players have different attributes and can never be the same,” said Mapeza.
CAPS United have the most poor strike rate in the top half of the current standings with a paltry 10 goals.
Veteran Leonard Tsipa and outgoing Roderick are the forwards who have scored so far for CAPS.
Leonard Fiyado, Blessing Nyamufukudza and Thabani Moyo have found goals illusive and that is worrying coach Mark Mathe.
“Definitely, we have to add more strikers because we are concerned about that department. There are players from outside that we are targeting but I cannot divulge their names at the moment,” said Mathe.
There are rumours that CAPS are eyeing Chapungu’s Allen Tavarwisa who has hit the back of the nets four times.
How Mine coach Luke Masomere has made it clear he will recruit just two players but not strikers as Timothy January leads their scoring with five goals.
Charles Sibanda is injured after a car accident and Leftara Ndale could now enjoy more game time but has to contest for the first team jersey with Kuda Musharu and Limited Chikafa.
Harare City and ZPC Kariba are also expected to be active in player transfers with more focus again being on strikers.