JOHANNESBURG — Orlando Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns, SuperSport United and Bidvest Wits players all battle with one Kaizer Chiefs star for the unofficial title of most valuable Premier Soccer League midfielder.
The midfield is often considered the engine room of a football team, and it is no surprise that these talented individuals are valued as the most expensive players in the league.
However, the “midfielder” has become a contested term in modern football owing to the fact that many players today are not traditional central midfielders but operate as wingers or wide forwards, often when the team plays with only one recognised striker, centre-forward or number nine.
Khama Billiat (pictured) is that player for Amakhosi. In his current role under Ernst Middendorp, he operates more like a winger or wide forward when compared to the likes of targetmen Samir Nurkovic and Leonardo Castro, who stay central up front.
The Zimbabwean — who is reportedly valued at R29,6 million — operates as an attacking midfielder capable of creating and scoring goals from anywhere on the pitch, whether centrally or out wide, but is also expected to help with defensive duties.
A midfielder is sometimes likened to an “all-rounder” in cricket and is often a player that needs to be adept at both leading the team forward and tracking back to defend.
This may explain why their values are so great, compared to the previous list of most valuable strikers, but some are naturally more gifted in one area than the other.