Kaizer Chiefs have been busy in this off-season transfer market and earlier this week unveiled six new players, five join domestically and one joins the club from abroad. The new domestic signings include striker Ranga Chivaviro (Marumo Gallants), midfielders Mduduzi Mdantsane (Cape Town City FC) and Pule Mmodi (Lamontville Golden Arrows, defenders Spiwe Given Msimango (TS Galaxy) and Thatayaone Ditlhokwe (SuperSport United). The player joining the club from abroad will be Venezuelan international Edson Daniel Castillo Garcia from Monagas SC.
In a separate piece earlier this week, we looked at the impact that the five domestic players may have on the club, while in this segment we dived deeper into what the signing of Pule Mmodi may bring. How good is he, what may he bring to Naturena and is he a player that Chiefs really need or more a want?
A move to Chiefs had been rumoured for quite some time now and whilst it has finally happened, it’s unfortunate he did not join when he was slightly younger. Albeit now 30, Mmodi still has a lot to offer to Chiefs if he stays fit and continues the form that he has shown over the years at Golden Arrows. He comes in with the expectation of hitting the ground running which can be difficult for any player at a new club, never mind at a club like Chiefs. Nevertheless, the AmaKhosi faithful must be excited about getting such a talent through the doors. So what does he bring with him?
Our evaluation of him will focus on his creativity, threat, goals and assists, drawing conclusions from our scouting and data visualisations. Mmodi is a roaming attacker who can be versatile and take up any position across the attacking line. His touch map above shows us that he mostly stays on the left-hand side of the field with occasional visits to the right-hand side.
Mmodi played nearly all the available minutes for Arrows last season and was very influential in their season finishing 9th. He scored six goals off 3.35 xG (potentially indicating some over-performance) whilst his expected assist rate matched his rate of providing assists at 4 for the season. In other words, he was providing opportunities from good areas at a rate that his teammates were able to score from.
Chiefs lacked a lot of things last season – defensive solidity but also attacking threat and most importantly conversion of chances. In Mmodi, they will up their creativity and forward movement off the ball whilst also adding a player who has the potential to create a threat going forward. At Golden Arrows, Mmodi was one of the team’s top players in creating threats, moving the ball forward and creating chances for his teammates.
Looking at all the passes of the 2022/23 season, Mmodi’s first instinct was generally to move the ball forward and progress the ball up the field. His top two most successful passing relationships were with the forward players Knox Mutizwa and Velemseni Ndwandwe. Looking at the pass maps of these relationships, it is clear to see the forward movement and the movement into the channels, exactly what Chiefs team-mates and the AmaKhosi faithful will want to see him do in games next season.
One thing that Chiefs did not struggle with last season was chance creation and shooting opportunities. They led the league in shots and xG per game yet struggled to convert the chances that they created for themselves. Bringing in the likes of Mmodi, Chivaviro and also Mdantsane would indicate that Chiefs are hoping to continue with the quantity of chance creation but at the same time hope to finish off with a higher conversion rate.
Even from an output perspective (goals and assists), Mmodi ranked in the top 5% of players across the whole league in 2022/23. His shot map below indicates a left-sided attack at goal as he looks to cut in before shooting with a fair few efforts from outside the box.
Mmodi has developed over the past few years at Golden Arrows and has now been given the opportunity to play for one of the top clubs in the country. Just like any new relationship, the partnership he strikes up with the rest of his team-mates and especially the strikers will be key to how effective and fruitful the output will be come the end of the campaign. He has all the attributes and qualities to make for a top-attacking player. Even more so, how new coach Molefi Ntseki chooses to use him will have an impact on how effective he could be for the club. In addition, with new surroundings, he might just feel truly at home and therefore hit the ground running.
With the season still a few weeks away everyone expects there to be more player transfers to take place, especially with a new coach having his input into how he wants the team to play.