The surprise decision to loan out Lorenzo Gordinho put aside for a moment, Kaizer Chiefs have finally backed up their status as a top team with three very good signings this month.
While they may not be immediately available for today’s Absa Premiership match away to SuperSport United at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit there should be a spring in coach Steve Komphela’s step.
It’s possible that the arrival of striker Leonardo Castro (who is still waiting for his work permit) from Mamelodi Sundowns, and midfielders Kabelo Mahlasela and Siphelele Ntshangase from Bloemfontein Celtic and Baroka FC respectively, could be a little too late for the coach to repair his already damaged reputation of failing to win any silverware in nearly three seasons at Amakhosi.
But what is left of the second half of the current campaign, which is Komphela’s third and final in his three-year contract at Chiefs, has received a major boost with these clever – on paper at least – recruits.
Chiefs face a side that has not only been struggling to win games since their Caf Confederation Cup final disappointment in late November, but one that could be down on morale given the lack of activity in the transfer window so far even though they have let go of Cole Alexander, loaned out Fagrie Lakay, and had to send back Sifiso Myeni after his loan spell was cut short by Bidvest Wits.
Their chief tormentor, forward Jeremy Brockie, is again the subject of interest from Sundowns and Orlando Pirates, with big money being thrown at him.
Mahlasela may be fit for Chiefs, and if so, much will be expected should Komphela decide to test him even though he’s had a limited number of training sessions to adapt.
Amakhosi, however, cannot afford to give these three new faces time – they are projected to have an immediate impact in order to give the Glamour Boys an edge in ending a trophy drought that stretches back to May 2015 under Stuart Baxter.
Castro and Ntshangase most likely lack match fitness because they have not seen much game time at their former clubs due to personal issues and injuries respectively.
It is Komphela’s job to get them back into shape as soon as possible or else they will only have an influence next season - when the coach is, in most likelihood, no longer a Khosi.
“We owe it to our supporters who have not been too happy over the last two seasons,” said Itumeleng Khune on the club’s website yesterday.
There are very few players at Naturena who grasp the significance of finally winning something more than captain Khune.
“It’s as important to ensure that we do not concede easy goals, as it is to convert the chances we create,” he added.
“The second half of the season is tough but we are ready.
“The club has signed some talented players and we hope they will contribute towards the team winning silverware this season.
“We know that SuperSport United are formidable opponents but the lads have been working hard and we are confident that we give our supporters a reason to cheer.”
They will be waiting with bated breath.
Chiefs are currently third on the Premiership table and trail log leaders Sundowns by six points after 15 rounds of matches.
The points tally is abysmal given the number of matches played, but Amakhosi are contenders for the championship.
Maybe now they are genuine title contenders following the signing of Castro, Mahlasela and playmaker Ntshangase.