Former Bafana Bafana international Pollen Ndlanya has hailed Kaizer Chiefs striker Collins Mbesuma for breathing fresh life into the Castle Premiership this season.
Ndlanya, who played for both the Mighty Amakhosi and Orlando Pirates during his heyday, holds the South African goalscoring record of 29 goals in all competitions for a single year. The lanky forward achieved this feat in the gold of Chiefs during the 1998/99 season.
The record has not been under any threat since as prolific goalscorers have been few and far between in this country since the 34-year-old's retirement. That is, however, until the arrival of Zambian international Mbesuma at the Naturena at the beginning of 2004/05 season.
All South African football lovers - not only the supporters of the Phefeni Glamour Boys - have enjoyed watching Mbesuma bang in 22 goals in 26 league and cup starts thus far. Therefore with 10 league and possible Absa Cup games left for this season, Mbesuma should stroll past Ndlanya's record - fitness permitting.
Ndlanya claims Mbesuma is player worthy of setting the new benchmark in South African soccer.
"He typifies all that a great striker should be," the former Bafana striker said of Mbesuma. "He's strong and he knows how to position himself in what we used to call 'the kitchen' - the hot 18-yard box. He's always thinking goals and that's why he's been good," Ndlanya told the Star.
Mbesuma has, however, not been the only striker that PSL goalkeepers have been having nightmares about this season. Dynamos striker Sandile Ndlovu, who is on loan to the Limpopo-based outfit from Mamelodi Sundowns, has the impressive tally of 16 goals to his credit.
Despite Ndlanya's scoring spree during the 1998/99 season, "Trompies" was not the highest scorer in the Premier Soccer League that season. He lost out on this award to Sundowns striker Daniel 'Mambush' Mudau, who breached the net on 24 occassions. Ndlanya believes this competitive rivalry between strikers is what spurs them on to greater heights.
"Competition that year between myself and Mambush (Mudau) was intense," said Ndlanya.
"Right now, the battle for the top scorer award is between Ndlovu and Mbesuma, which is good. You don't want to see one player strolling to the honours unchallenged."