Highlandspark Football Club has gained promotion from the National First Division (NFD) to the Premier Soccer league (PSL) after winning the playoffs against Pretoria University Football Club and Mbombela United football Club. Highlandspark qualified for the playoffs after finishing second to Baroka Football Club in the NFD with Mbombela United qualifying after finishing third on the log. The team is new to the PSL and will be playing all their games like a cup final. They are determined to keep their team in the PSL as a task for their debut season and the second season they will be going all out for a trophy and cementing a top eight finish. The team has a few experienced players who played in the PSL before, so it won’t be difficult for new players to adjust to the conditions in the PSL. Let us look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Highlandspark team basing on their form in the NFD and in the playoffs. They have now parted ways with their coach Gordon Igesund who has a record of winning the PSL title 4 times with different teams.
Highlandspark’ strengths are in their goalkeeper, experienced defenders, experienced midfielders and their strikers. The goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini has a lot of experience in elite football. He has played for a lot of PSL teams and definitely knows their style of play and culture. Tapuwa has also played international football with Zimbabwe. He is the pillar of the team and also helps in motivating the young players. His role is more than a goalkeeper.
The experience of Rudi Isaacs and Jermaine Christian is vital in making sure the defense is functioning well. They have played in the PSL before and are aware of anything in the elite league. They are also great defenders and are able to motivate the young players in the team. Their roles are also to make sure the youngsters are not under unnecessary pressure. Jermain and Rudi are vital in making sure Highlandspark retains their PSL status at the end of the 2016/17 PSL season.
In midfield the team has Khuboni who also played in the PSL and the national team Bafana Bafana. He has great experience which will be much needed in the midfield of the team. He has great skills and a good eye to pick up strikers in perfect positions. Khuboni is one of the great passers of the ball. His left foot is one of the best in the country. The new season will be his chance to showcase football fans around the country that he is still a great player. If he performs well, he will definitely get another chance in the national team.
The strikers are proven goal scorers. Collins Mbesuma and Charlton Mashumba has scored a lot of goals in the PSL. Scoring goals will not be a new thing for them. Collins was a leading goal scorer last season playing for the then Mpumalanga Black Aces. Mashumba also scored vital goals for Cosmos although the team was relegated.
The team has young players who are new to the PSL and it won’t be that easy for them to adjust to the standard of play in the PSL. Highlandspark still needs a few experienced players including a goalkeeper who will help Kapini during suspensions and injuries.
Solution to their weaknesses
The team has collected a number of experience players to make sure they retain their PSL status at the end of the 2016/17 season.
Highlandspark squad is as follows: T. Kapini, J van der Merwe, M Heugh, T Kalake, M Mabeba, R Isaacs, E Ngalo, G Bruchhausen, J Sibande, A Mbara, J Christian, R Mphele, A Leonard, R Rae, L Mosopa, S Tshabalala, S Khwela, D Sampson, T Khuboni, M Mvala, S Ledwaba, L Ditsile, B Theron, P Shalulile, H Somaeb, T Mathibe, J Garcia, K Zwane, C Mbesuma, C Mashumba, M Thabotha, S Nkosi, and E Sitayitayi.