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Thu Apr 17 08:41:17 SAST 2014

Splash the cash, Chippa!

Carlos Amato | 10 July, 2012 10:310 Comments

Siviwe "Chippa" Mpengesi has already done us all a big favour by sparing us the emotional torture of watching Santos next season. And he could revitalise the PSL by realising his dreams for newly promoted Chippa United.

The new boys must give a skrik to those coasting, middleweight PSL clubs that have given up on broadening their support bases and whose only real ambition is to maintain their top-flight status.

Young, rich and charismatic, the former shack-dweller and security guard from Nqamakwe has charmed the hell out of the media this week. Mpengesi clearly has a keen business brain and a knack for football administration.

But he knows this will be a spicy first campaign for the Chilli Boys. PSL history is littered with tales of rapid relegation - the most recent being that of fellow Capetonians Vasco da Gama, who were as abysmal in the second half of the season as they were awesome in the first.

At this point it's impossible to say whether Mpengesi has made a wise call in replacing his successful head coach, Roger Sikhakhane, with Manqoba Mngqithi.

In his defence, Mpengesi suggested last week that Sikhakhane had asked to be relieved of the head coaching duties, preferring to work under someone with ample PSL experience. That sounds oddly defeatist, but perhaps Sikhakhane is one of those wise people who knows how to pace his career.

There's no doubt Mngqithi has talent. He didn't succeed at Amazulu, but his memorable MTN8 victory with Golden Arrows in 2009 proved he can deliver an effective brand of champagne diski that would put plenty of bums on seats at Philippi stadium.

As for the Chippa United squad, it must be exciting for Mpengesi to shop for players with a whack of moolah in his pocket. Not easy though - the domestic market consists almost entirely of unknown quantities and known plodders.

One priority is a top defender: he's already lost his defensive kingpin, Roscoe Pietersen, to Supersport United.

Mpengesi gave notice of his seriousness by targeting Ouwo Moussa Maazou, the bruising Niger international striker who came out of contract at CSKA Moscow. But Tunisian giants Etoile du Sahel have beaten him to Maazou, so he will have to keep hunting for the 10-goals-a-season forward he needs - not the type of player that's thick on the ground in the PSL.

Chippa have signed a quartet of young loanees from Orlando Pirates - Cyril Mashego, Linda Shiba, Lizo Mjempu and Sibusiso Mnguni - but the Bucs player they really wanted, Mark Mayambela, has chosen to stay and fight for a place in the champions' starting line-up.

Elsewhere, there are a few serviceable free agents on the market, such as Lucky Khune, Papi Zothwane, Dominic Isaacs, Stanton Lewis, Moses Spandeel and Nathan Paulse.

But none of them is the sort of big-ticket player who will realise Mpengesi's declared ambition of making Chippa United the country's third-best supported club.

Mpengesi has no real option but to invest a whack in major players with serious PSL or foreign experience. He may not be an oligarch, but he can afford to take a risk.

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Splash the cash, Chippa!

For Commenters Consideration | Please stick to the subject matter
Thu Apr 17 08:41:18 SAST 2014 ::

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