The silly season is fully underway, as club “think tanks” seek to delve into the transfer market and attempt to strengthen their teams going into the new season, while also ensuring that they get the best possible value for money deals in a very competitive and largely inflated global transfer market. We at GSV have taken it upon ourselves to give you a comprehensive breakdown of some transfer deals in our Grading The Deal supplement, an exclusive and comprehensive guide catered towards the purists who seek to know more than the average fan regarding the wheeling’s and dealings in football today. Enjoy!
The almost inexplicable rarity of a young talent bursting onto the scene as a teenager, earning the respect and accolades that some seasoned professionals retire without receiving, while managing to remain grounded and continue to grow at a progressive rate is something many South Africans all too familiar with. Yet every once in a while, the stars align for some of those “once in a generation” talents that transcend the norm and create a new plateau to be broken; the rise & rise of Riyaad Norodien has been spectacular to witness, the Ajax CT youth graduate has quickly established himself as one of the premier young talents in South African football, due to the great strides he has continued to make in his development since bursting onto the scene as a teen.
Riyaad made us all sit and take note of him towards the end of the 2014/15 season, where gaffer Roger De Sa looked to prepare the squad for the eminent departure of Keagan Dolly to Mamelodi Sundowns at the end of the season; the loss of one key player created an opportunity for a youth graduate to step in and continue the club’s proud tradition of promoting talent from within when there is an opportunity to do so. Riyaad stepped up to the elite level and took his opportunity with both hands and feet; after overcoming off-field troubles in the form of a legal battle with the club, Norodien seemed to use the platform as an opportunity to prove that he was good enough to be a professional, and now he has earned a move to an even more illustrious club as a reward for his perseverance and dedication to progression.
The transfer became one of the worst kept secrets of the transfer window, after news was leaked of the deal being announced as part of a dual-swoop on Ajax Cape Town by Bucs, that also included Abbubaker Mobara, who seemed to have his sights set on filling the vacancy at right-back, created by the departure of Ramahlwe Mphahlele, in the Mamelodi Sundowns side. Riyaad is said to be overjoyed to be linking up with gaffer Mushin Ertuğral, a keen admirer of young talents and enterprising attacking football, Mushin also happens to be the man that promoted Riyaad into the 1st team setup at Ajax when he was Head Coach. The great rapport between player and coach will assist Norodien in acclimatising to life at a club of Pirates’ stature, something that will be key if the lad is to avoid the fate that has befallen many a talented youngster, that moved to a big club and failed to receive the necessary tutelage to convert potential into regular displays of elite level ability. Orlando Pirates have now elected themselves to be entrusted with the responsibility of developing Riyaad Norodien into the top-class talent that his potential promises he will be, as custodians of such a great talent, the organisation can reap great rewards if they invest wisely in his development into the player we know he can become.
DoB: March 26th, 1995 (21)
PoB: Kensington, Cape Town; Western Cape
Nationality: South African
Caps & Goals: u/23 International | 3 Caps
Position/s: Attacking Midfielder, Advanced Playmaker, Trequartista, Inside Forward, Winger (L/R/C)
Height: 1, 68m
Preferred Foot: Either
Club: Orlando Pirates Football Club
Jersey No: #95
Former Club: Ajax Cape Town Football Club
Development Nest: Ajax Cape Town Youth Development
2015/16 Club Stats: 28 Games, 1 Goal & 5 Assists
Total Career Stats: 34 Games, 3 Goals & 5 Assists
GSV Deal Grader: Steve Lekoelea from Moroka Swallows to Orlando Pirates in of 1997 (4/5)
Orlando Pirates are a club that love their good attacking players, and Riyaad Norodien will provide the club with something many South African teams tend to lack, a natural left-sided player that brings dimension to the offensive unit by providing a different angle for deliveries or shooting chances in attack. The competition for starting places at a team like Orlando Pirates will always be tight, regardless of the phase the team is in; during this minor rebuild, players will be even more incentivised to prove their quality and readiness to fight for an opportunity to play regularly. Riyaad Norodien brings a unique set of abilities that are tailor-made to allow him to flourish in a thriving Orlando Pirates side, the youngster could go down in history as one of the best players to wear the Bucs jersey in the modern era once all is said and done.
Skilful players are a dime a dozen in South Africa, yet we still find it hard to develop our dribbling wizards into technically gifted professionals that also possess the physical and tactical dexterity needed to excel at the elite level. Riyaad Norodien is an outrageously gifted technical footballer that seems able to do whatever he wishes on the ball, the playmaker has the ability to weave his way out of tight situations and beat his marker with relative ease. When you consider his high talent ceiling and the incredible scope for growth he is blessed with, one cannot help but feel as if Riyaad is perfectly positioned to become a genuine star in the coming seasons for club and country. A nimble midfielder with the pace to out gas most defenders in the league, Norodien has the ability to be effective on and off the ball, something that marks him out as a premier attacking outlet in the making.
Great ability is nothing without the mental aptitude to apply oneself towards using those God given gifts to the best of one’s ability, Riyaad’s mentality was questioned when he took his former employer to court in an attempt to server ties with the club and seek gainful employment elsewhere. The determination he showed to overcome those obstacles is commendable, but now the spotlight will be on how he handles the pressure of playing for such a prestigious club. One weakness most modern players make is reading too much into media reports, and often using those very same outlets and channels to get themselves into trouble by saying something that is almost always taken out of context. Riyaad will need to show more control of his overall business as a player, in a city where the media cycle and supporter interest is double what he was experiencing in Cape Town, we would like to read about Riyaad as it pertains to his on-field exploits and not what may be occurring off the field and affecting his image as a promising young star for the future.