The African Cup of Nations has long been renowned as a fertile scouting ground for European sides to scout potential editions to their sides during the January transfer period, although we have come to see lesser known quantities raise to the top of wanted lists across the fraternity after a few impressive showings in Africa’s greatest football showpiece, we often get to witness some of the more famous names prove that they are amongst the Continents elite talents; this 30th edition of the Afcon has produced a great mixture of both and we at GSV are delighted to introduce you to a few of those lads and the sides they would be suited for in our Attracting Attention feature.
South Africa qualified for the 2015 African Cup of Nations off the back of a string of defensively solid performances in a new look defensive unit that oozed class, confidence and a great degree of composure; the cornerstone of that defence was a towering central defender with a sense of maturity that many experienced backline players across the fraternity would do anything to attain. Blessed with a great propensity to read attacking situations and break them down with his impressive tackling ability, utilising his elongated legs to win tackles cleanly and retain possession of the ball for his side, Mathoho combines those abilities with impeccable man-marking skills that make some of the best attackers feel claustrophobic when they are neatly tucked away in his pocket during games.
His club side Kaizer Chiefs have had one of the meanest defences in the last two league campaigns and Tower has been central to ensuring that they are the proud holders of such an impressive record; having added a goal scoring streak to his play by using his height, heading prowess and great positional sense to wreak havoc in the opposition defence at set-pieces, Mathoho continues to develop into an elite level central defender that has the potential to become one of the best stopper defenders that Mama Africa has ever produced. The Tshiombe born lad is deceptively quick off the mark for a lanky central defender and his dynamic passing game ranks him as a commodity in the modern game where teams love to build attacks from the back, his ball retention skills are impressive as he has the ability to draw attacking players onto him before unleashing one of his trademark play switching long passes forward.
Having shown that he values pedigree over a handsome bank balance by shunning the endless money fountain that mega-bucks Mamelodi Sundowns promised to throw his way for a move to Naturena where his skills would be more appreciated, Mathoho is a man with a focused take on his career and its trajectory; one only hopes that his agent Tim Sukazi, a man known for getting good deals for his clients, will take the initiative and ensure that Tower does not follow in the footsteps of many before him and get comfortable playing in South Africa where he could elevate his game at a higher level and be afforded the opportunity to prove that he is a central defender capable of being ranked amongst the best at the elite level.
Erick Mathoho’s current market value sits at €800 000 and it would take a bid in the region of €1,5m to lure the lad away from Kaizer Chiefs after his impressive displays have turned a few heads in the global football fraternity, the Venda born central defensive lynchpin has displayed the aptitude and mental fortitude to succeed at the elite level while adding a greater dynamic to his game play with each passing season, something that makes his current value seem like peanuts when compared to his approximated transfer fee and his scope for continued as sustainable growth. While many clubs across the fraternity could use a seasoned and talented central defender in Mathoho’s mould, we at GSV have compiled a list of clubs that would urgently need to acquire the services of the talented lad.
As numerous top sides across the fraternity continually swoop on BVB’s talented footballers, the impressive central defensive pairing of Neven Subotić and skipper Mats Hummels is probably in its last few months together and the management team at Signal Iduna Park will be looking to secure a ready made replacement for either, or both, of the towering central defenders that have made for one of the most feared partnerships on the planet. Erick Mathoho, standing at 1.90m seems like a perfect fit for the club, at 24 he offers a long term replacement for the central defenders and his asking price fits in with Dortmund’s transfer policy of investing in talented footballers at a reasonable fee and affording them the platform to fulfil their potential while playing an attractive brand of attacking football. His ability to play in a passing orientated side while still going about doing his defensive duties to a high degree will mark him as the type of player they should be looking to acquire.
West Ham United
The Hammers are keen to ensure that their side continues to play an attacking brand of football while retaining the defensive solidity that they have become renowned for in recent years, with central defender Winston Reid rumoured to be on his way out sooner rather than later; Mathoho would be a perfect fit for the London side to add more quality to their defence while acquiring a natural pass-first central defender capable of playing the long diagonal into the target-man when the opportunity arises. West Ham are known to attract underrated African talent and the signing of Mathoho would be a feather in their cap as they will spend a reasonable sum on a footballer that will have a handsome resale value when he reaches his peak and begins to attract attention from the even bigger sides in Europe.
Roberto Martínez is a gaffer with a keen eye for talent and an impressive capacity when it comes to nurturing that talent to fulfil its full potential under its tutelage, The Toffees have an ageing defence as skipper Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin are both in the twilight of their careers and looking like they could be in their last season as regular first team fixtures for the high octane playing football side. They do have a talented young Englishman capable of replacing one of the two stewards already in the 20 year old John Stones, yet the lad will require a gifted and mature partner beside him to grow alongside and develop a long-term partnership with. Mathoho has the dynamic passing range to slot in along side Stones in a new look Everton defence for a passing orientated “Bobby” Martínez side that requires that youthful zest in defence to match the impressive offensive foundation he has built going forward. Mathoho and Stones could form one of the best defensive partnerships in England, one that would immediately be greater than that of their rivals Liverpool after a handful of games together.
Having sold two of their more trusted defensive rocks in Stefan de Vrij and Bruno Martins Indi, to Lazio and FC Porto respectively, The Pride of South are desperately in need of a younger and more determined central defender to come in and solidify their defensive line; in a young squad like the one Feyenoord have, Mathoho would be afforded the perfect foundation to hone his craft even further and become the elite level central defender he is destined to be. The Eredivisie is a league where South African’s have adapted well and go onto thrive in; the determined and driven Mathoho would be comfortable in an environment that promotes growth while keeping talented lads grounded as they become stars at the elite level. Feyenoord can see Mulomowandau as a minimum risk, high reward investment that would pay off exponentially with great management and regular game time.
Name: Mulomowandau Erick Mathoho
DoB: March 1st, 1990 (24)
PoB: Thiombe, Venda
Nationality: South African
Caps & Goals: 16 Caps
Position/s: Stopper Defender, Cover Defender
Club: Kaizer Chiefs FC
Market Value: €800 000