Offers his preview of the new team
Amakhosi have a few gaps to plug after the departure of some players. Timothy Molobi
Chiefs will not only have a new coach in Steve Komphela and a new captain, but the team will also have a newlook defence and strike force. Komphela will be looking to secure an impressive start to the season – considering previous coach Stuart Baxter’s lingering legacy. Komphela gained some first-hand experience of dealing with the players when they returned for preseason training last week.
The goalkeeping department seems to be sorted, with Brilliant Khuzwayo and Reyaad Pieterse having already done the job in the absence of the then injured Itumeleng Khune last season.
While Eric Mathoho is certain to retain his position in the heart of defence, the departure of former captain Tefu Mashamaite has opened the door for one of the new arrivals, Daniel Cardoso and Siyanda Xulu.
Although they will probably have to fight for their positions, Amakhosi certainly didn’t secure the two to warm the bench.
The injury-prone Morgan Gould, who finished the season on the sidelines as a result of an Achilles tendon injury, will also have to fight to regain and secure his position in central defence.
Gould struggled to elbow out Mathoho and Mashamaite in the starting line-up and was only used sparingly by Baxter.
The arrival of Cardoso and Xulu could also spell trouble for the inconsistent Siboniso Gaxa in the right-fullback position.
The 31-year-old former Bafana defender played in all the league matches last season, but Gaxa could find himself on the sidelines, as both Xulu and Cardoso could also play in the right-back position.
Last week, it emerged that Xulu took over Gaxa’s number 5 jersey – leading to strong speculation that it might not be the only thing he takes from the former Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United defender.
But the arrival of two defenders also spells trouble for Kgotso Moleko and young Lorenzo Gordinho, who has had limited game time in the past two seasons.
Keegan Ritchie, who returns to the club after leaving it just two seasons ago, is not expected to give Tsepo Masilela trouble for a berth in the left-back position.
Masilela’s experience is unparalleled and he is likely to miss games only if he has an injury, receives a suspension or if Komphela decides to rest the former Bafana defender.