Pule Ekstein's stats at Kaizer Chiefs reveal a lot
Now ex-Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Pule Ekstein claims he was told by the club’s management that he was not contributing enough and that led to a deadlock in negotiations‚ which has resulted in his departure.
Ekstein’s contract was due to expire on June 30 and when the two parties failed to agree terms‚ they decided to part ways on Thursday.
Amakhosi also confirmed that Gustavo Paez and Kgotso Malope have also been deemed surplus to requirements.
The decision to so abruptly release Ekstein‚ who had become increasingly influential in the past three months since Ernst Middendorp’s arrival as coach‚ came as a surprise though.
It has started a debate on a player who has always divided opinions.
Skilful Ekstein was a crowd favourite for some‚ but a more discerning fan pointed to his poor decision-making‚ tendency to give the ball away in crucial spaces‚ and for missing chances‚ and reluctance to track back and defend‚ making him a far from complete player.
The debate has been fuelled by the attacking midfielder’s claims on SuperSport TV in an interview with Robert Marawa on Thursday night that he was told by Chiefs that he was not doing enough at the club as a reason to allow the attacking midfielder to go.
While Ekstein certainly believes he had done enough to deserve a better contract‚ the statistics since his debut in 2015 suggest Chiefs have a point.
The Chiefs youth product played 97 matches (57 starts‚ 40 substitutes)‚ scored nine goals and made just two assists over four-and-a-half seasons – that leaves a lot to be desired‚ especially for an attacking player.
Ekstein made his first Chiefs appearance in February 2015 in their 4-0 Nedbank Cup last-32 win over amateurs Edu Sports.
He came off the bench on that occasion and went on to feature three more times that season‚ all as a substitute.
In comparison‚ this has been his best season with Chiefs‚ with five goals from 28 matches including two in the Caf Confederation Cup.
The lad from Bekkersdal is not in two minds that he deserves better‚ but Chiefs clearly disagree because they were unwilling to break the bank to meet Ekstein’s apparently high salary demands to keep him.
Based on the numbers‚ the debate will go on about his contribution or lack thereof.
You be the judge.