Dedication, hard work and love is what Zambian legend Christopher Katongo says are the qualities needed by strikers seeking to score more goals. Photo: BackpagePix
A long pause from Christopher Katongo answered the question of who his favourite striker in the domestic league is, louder than the words he used once he found his composure.

The Zambian legend and recipient of the 2006/07 Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot didn’t hold back once he opened his mouth.

“For now, I don’t have a favourite,” Katongo said before putting on a positive spin to mask his sharp criticism, “But there are good players.”

It’s easy to see why Katongo wouldn’t have a favourite striker in the current crop. With almost two-thirds of the Premiership having been played along with two knockout competitions, there isn’t a single striker who has reached double digits with his goals tally.

In the last five seasons the Golden Boot winners haven’t even scored 15 goals. But that’s not even the most embarrassing part, having Katongo’s name in the list of previous winners is.

The former Jomo Cosmos forward scored 15 goals at the halfway mark, was signed by Danish giants Brondby in January and returned to the country in May to collect the award after no one surpassed his tally - despite playing half-a-season longer.

“There is a crisis,” Katongo said. “Why? If everyone can put their differences aside and come together, South Africa will return to producing top strikers because the previous ones weren’t produced by just one man alone.”

The absence of a prolific striker has badly affected Bafana Bafana, who create a number of opportunities but don’t bury them.

Rodney Ramagalela has set this season ablaze with Polokwane City but a return of nine goals in 20 matches isn’t anything to write home about.

In the absence of a prolific striker clubs have tweaked their line-ups to get the most out of their attack-minded players. Mamelodi Sundowns, who led the scoring charts without a genuine centre-forward before signing Jeremy Brockie, manipulated the system by using Percy Tau, Anthony Laffor, Yannick Zakri or Sibusiso Vilakazi as the focal point.

That system was helped by the fact that whoever leads the attack is supported by players who can turn on the magic with goals.

Other teams use a three-pronged attack spearheaded by a striker with wingers supporting him.

Those methods have had their hits and misses and every manager would jump at the opportunity of snapping up a forward who can consistently get 15 goals or more a season. With that said, what makes a good striker?

“For me it’s the dedication,” Katongo said. “Once there is dedication there will be discipline. That will be followed by the love of what you are doing and hard work will automatically come. But most importantly there needs to be a dream.

“Visualising that dream and the moment is key. That’s what I did during my time because as a footballer you can’t just sleep after work like you are working as a banker. It’s different.

“In football you must constantly work on your craft.

“Even in your sleep you need to visualise your movements and how to put the ball in the back of the net. Those are the things that I did during my time.

“I don’t know if the other players do that. If they can have commitment and good work ethic, they can become prolific strikers.”

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