Striker Bonfils-Caleb Bimenyimana was in the Kaizer Chiefs starting line-up on Saturday afternoon, and played for 71 minutes against a Richards Bay side that were down to 10 men for most of the match.
This was one game Bimenyimana could have used to raise his hand for a regular spot in Arthur Zwane’s starting 11, but the towering forward didn’t do much to impress in Ashley Du Preez’s absence, managing just two shots throughout. To their credit, Amakhosi won the game 1-0 on the day.
When Bimenyimana arrived at Kaizer Chiefs, goals are what the fans expected from him.
Zwane had long bemoaned the lack of a proper forward at Chiefs, with Samir Nurkovic and Leonardo Castro having been released, the arrival of Bimenyimana was supposed to be the perfect solution.
Despite having netted seven times for Amakhosi, the Burundian international has proven himself not to be the lethal striker Chiefs thought they were bringing to Naturena.
The fact of the matter is
Bimenyinana has scored seven times in 17 appearances for Amakhosi across all competitions, with one assist, and is currently among the league’s top goal scorers.
If you didn’t know better, you’d say Chiefs have themselves a goal poacher, only to be disappointed when you dig deeper.
More than half of his goals have come from the penalty spot, including a hat-trick of penalties against Stellenbosch FC.
Other than that, the striker hasn’t given Amakhosi fans anything to cheer about.
He hasn’t been a handful for defenders and goalkeepers either. Bimenyimana has managed just 36 shots at goal for Amakhosi in his 17 appearances, which is just a fraction above an average of two shots per game, such stats belong to midfielders.
But, maybe goals are not really what Arthur Zwane expects from Bimenyimana, as what he said last year after the Stellies game where the forward converted three penalties might paint a different picture.
“You must have seen him today [Sunday], he simplifies things, he keeps it simple as a striker,” Zwane told the media after that game.
“He doesn’t just want to play the ball out, he wants to protect the ball in those one-twos, he’s also skilful, he’s not just a tall boy. And he’s quick for his structure; he’s got that balance as well. Yes, we’ve always wanted a player that can release players like ‘Ash’ [Ashley Du Preez].
“If you must have seen the runs that he made, he freed Ash, so that the ball carrier at that time must be able to pick one between the two of them. And that’s why Ash, I think twice, he was free because Caleb will attract [defenders], that’s the strength he has as a player.
“And like I said, he’s also clever on the ball, he’s not just a striker that is waiting for the crosses. We’re not a team that will rely on highballs. We’re a team that wants to penetrate on the middle, obviously, use width to create goal-scoring opportunities.”
In a nutshell
Unless Bimenyimana is one of those players who takes time to adapt to a new environment, he might just be another Chiefs scouting mistake, amongst the likes of Lazarous Kambole, who arrived with so much promise, but failed to deliver.