'Stash' Ntshangase can reverse Kaizer Chiefs' No 10 curse
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DURBAN - It's now or never for Siphelele Ntshangase.
On Monday, Kaizer Chiefs announced that they had renewed Ntshangase’s contract even though the forward has struggled to command a regular starting berth under German coach Ernst Middendorp.
Ntshangase joined Amakhosi with huge expectations two seasons ago from Baroka FC. He was the hottest property in South Africa with big guns Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates, among others, lining up for his signature.
In the end he chose Chiefs, and six months into his stint with the Glamour Boys he was given the coveted No 10 jersey following the departure of Keagan Buchanan.
Last season, Ntshangase was on top of his game in the colours of the Amakhosi, much to the delight of the club’s supporters, who appreciated his reliability and imagination.
His form had former Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter under immense pressure to call him up for national duty at that time.
Clearly, however, Ntshangase has become a victim of his own success in recent months and has faded away. Since Middendorp replaced Italian Giovanni Solinas last year, the 27-year-old has failed to break into the starting XI.
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— Kaizer Chiefs (@KaizerChiefs)
The next 12 months will be pivotal for Ntshangase to prove that he is the real deal.
One of his weaknesses has been his off-the-ball work-rate and play and he has come under widespread criticism for his laziness.
The modern game demands diligence, especially in the 4-3-3 formation Middendorp employs. That’s why the likes of Lebo Manyama, Willard Katsande and George Maluleka have all flourished since the arrival of the German. They are effective, even when the team is out of position.
With Maluleka leaving Amakhosi for Sundowns next season, Ntshangase has an opportunity to shine. There’s no doubt he has the potential and ability as an offensive midfielder, but it is imperative for him to harness his will power and work-rate, especially without the ball.
His conversion rate in front of goal also needs to improve. Ntshangase is arguably one of the best passers of the ball domestically, but for him to be a complete footballer he has to refine his scoring instinct.
But if there is one player who can end the curse of the No 10 jersey at Amakhosi, it is Ntshangase.
Buchanan, Mthokozisi Yende, Michael Nkambule and Songe Chalwe all failed to dazzle in that famous number at Amakhosi but Ntshangase has the talent and skills to change that, if he can change his attitude.
There's no doubt he has the ability to follow in the footsteps of Chiefs greats it's now or never for the man affectionately known as ‘Stash’.