Zebras star Joel Mogorosi’s place in Bloemfontein Celtic’s first team could be in jeopardy given his lack of a regular run of games lately. Since Ernst Middendorp’s arrival, the winger has been struggling to cement his place as a regular starter in the club’s line up.
Prior to Middendorp’s arrival, Mogorosi was an undisputed certainty in the club’s first team plans; he had started eight consecutive league and cup games under the previous coach Clinton Larsen. The former Celtic coach signed Mogorosi in 2012 after numerous personal scouting trips and the player was arguably the cornerstone of Larsen’s plans last season.
The former Mochudi Centre Chiefs player played a key role in his side’s Telkom Knockout Cup triumph last year in which he helped them finish the league season in the top eight. The cup win ended the club’s seven-year trophy drought and that made him win the hearts of the club’s supporters; he has been a fan favourite since his arrival last year.
However, Middendorp appears to have a different assessment of Mogorosi’s style of play and how he would fit into his formations. The German trainer has been in charge of six games so far, and in those games, Mogorosi started only one game, made four substitute appearances and did not feature in their 3-2 win over Orlando Pirates.
Being dropped for a big game could prove that he is not in Middendorp’s immediate first team plans. The former Kaizer Chiefs is renowned for being a defensive minded coach and he has never shied away from making unpopular decisions.
During his time at Chiefs, he benched crowd favourites such as Emanuel ‘Scara’ Ngobese and played many players out of their natural positions in order to adapt to his tactics.
When Lennox Bacela left the club to join Pirates, Mogorosi was expected to take over the mettle of being the club’s talisman but the arrival of a new coach resulted in limited chances for the Zebras winger. Celtic has not enjoyed a good start to this season’s league campaign and they are currently occupying eighth place on the league table so far.
They finished in fifth place last season, which is their joint best finish in the Premier Soccer League (PSL). Despite his first team struggles, Mogorosi is a versatile player who could win a place in the side if he waits patiently for his chance according to football analyst Fabien Zulu.
“He needs to understand that Larsen and Middendorp have different philosophies. Larsen believed in wing-play while the German coach prefers a different approach. His system does not cater for speedy wingers but believes in players who interchange positions and attack as a team. Joel needs to be patient, work hard in training and adapt to the coach’s style of play. Another thing he could do is to approach the coach and ask for tips on how to play to his demands. That way the coach will see that he truly wants to play for him,” said Zulu.