How to be a top scorer

2012-07-13 16:05

Moroka Swallows striker Siyabonga Nomvethe recently scooped the country’s top awards at the 2011/12 Premier Soccer League (PSL)

season-end function at Gold Reef City, where he was crowned PSL Footballer of the Year.

He also picked up the Players’ Player of the Year accolade.

Shaun Bartlett, a scorer of 28 goals in 74 matches as Bafana Bafana striker, explains why Siyabonga has been so successful lately.

1. Age appropriate

At 34, Siyabonga has proved that age is just a number by scoring the most goals – 20 – of any player in the Absa PSL this past season.

He spent some time overseas and struggled, but when he returned home to represent Moroka Swallows, he regained his confidence because he was given more playing time.

South Africa tends to discard players after the age of 30 – but Siyabonga proved his doubters wrong.

2. Fast mover

What sets Siyabonga apart is his movement off the ball and his phenomenal pace. He creates space for himself with the immaculate timing of his runs.

Some strikers play in the box all the time, but Siyabonga tends to move from wide to in.

This means that he drifts away from the central defenders and to the wing, so it is difficult to cover him. Then he suddenly moves back into the middle and attacks the ball.

3. Using his head

Siyabonga is a good header of the ball.

I experienced it first-hand when he represented Swallows against me when I played for Golden Arrows and he scored two goals with headers.

He times his jumps very well and is athletic enough to convert crosses into goals.

4. More than one skill

Siyabonga is very versatile – he’s predominantly right-footed and although it might be his stronger side, he has developed over the past two years and also strikes with his left foot, or with his lethal headers.

5. Gentle giant
Siyabonga is very quiet and humble and doesn’t say much, but he is an intelligent striker who knows what it takes to score.

This intelligence is also evident in the work he has done since turning 30. His nutritional habits and his speed work has aided his efforts to resurrect his international career, and now he represents Bafana Bafana again.

» A great mover
Siyabonga needs space to convert opportunities into goals. But if the central midfielders don’t create that space for him, he opens up gaps for himself with his shrewd ability to drift to the side of the attacking line and sprint back into the middle.

Ultimately, he’s a great mover and that contributed to his excellent conversion rate – goals per matches – last season.

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