Amakhosi will be dot­ting all the i’s ...

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - SPORT - MHILALI BALEKA SOC­CER WRITER MINENHLE MKHIZE SOC­CER WRITER

KAIZER CHIEFS’ coach Gio­vanni Soli­nas reck­ons that the big­gest mis­take that they can do in the Premier League this sea­son is un­der­min­ing their fel­low coun­ter­parts.

Af­ter a false start in the Absa Premier­ship, Chiefs looked to have turned the cor­ner when they bagged three con­sec­u­tive wins against Cape Town City, Free State Stars and Amazulu, but their progress came into a halt in their last two games as they drew to High­lands Park and lost to Polok­wane City, re­spec­tively.

“It’s not easy at all this sea­son be­cause if you check the re­sults from the pre­vi­ous and cur­rent sea­son, the re­sults are bal­anced,”Soli­nas said. “If most games end in a score of 1-0 or 2-1, that means ev­ery game is dif­fi­cult. We need to make sure that we pre­pare very well for each game, and not un­der­es­ti­mate the op­po­nents be­cause every­body can beat you and vice versa.”

The 3-2 loss to Su­per­sport United over the two-legged MTN8 semi-fi­nal en­counter, meant that Chiefs’ three-year bar­ren run con­tin­ued. How­ever, this year’s Telkom Knock­out com­pe­ti­tion that’s sched­uled to com­mence in the week­end of Oc­to­ber 20 – 21, will give them an­other op­por­tu­nity to make amends for the dis­ap­point­ment that they en­dured early last month.

With the opener of the com­pe­ti­tion sched­uled to take place af­ter the in­ter­na­tional break, Soli­nas is adamant that they would have well pre­pared.

“I think when you have the time, you can im­prove the team,” Soli­nas in­sisted. “There will be enough time for ex­er­cises and train­ing ses­sions; and for us that is pos­i­tive. We have to re­spect Black Leop­ards, and per­son­ally, I don’t un­der­es­ti­mate them. They started well in the league and they try to play foot­ball, so it’s a very tough game for us.”

The Leop­ards’ en­counter in the Telkom Knock­out will also serve as a cur­tain-raiser for Chiefs’ meet­ing with Or­lando Pi­rates in this sea­son’s first edi­tion of the Soweto Derby that will be held at FNB Sta­dium (3:30pm) on Oc­to­ber 27. And with the match dubbed as one of the big­gest der­bies in Africa, Soli­nas is hop­ing that foot­ball will be the win­ner on the day.

“The derby is al­ways a spe­cial game but I want to ded­i­cate this game to our sup­port­ers,” he said. BRIL­LIANT Khuzwayo is yet to make his de­but for Or­lando Pi­rates be­cause of an in­jury and Mi­lutin “Mi­cho” Sre­do­je­vic doesn’t want to rush him back into ac­tion.

Siyabonga Mpontshane has been com­mand­ing the start­ing berth for the Buc­ca­neers be­tween the sticks so far this sea­son.

Mpontshane was re­placed by Jack­son Mabokg­wane this past week­end against AmaZulu at King Zwelithini Sta­dium in Um­lazi af­ter sus­tain­ing an in­jury be­fore the league game.

Khuzwayo left Kaizer Chiefs hav­ing played se­cond fid­dle to Itume­leng Khune for much of his time with Amakhosi.

Sre­do­je­vic can’t wait to have Khuzwayo back but won’t be rush­ing him back into ac­tion.

“I’m very happy to coach this group of play­ers. Bril­liant Khuzwayo is a top class per­son­al­ity. Even out­side the field of play (he is a top class per­son­al­ity), any coach will be happy to have such a pos­i­tive per­son in the team.

“He set the tone in the team and moves the mood into the right di­rec­tion,” Sre­do­je­vic said.

Khuzwayo has an op­por­tu­nity to make his de­but against his former team on Oc­to­ber 27.

Pi­rates will face their arch-ri­vals, Amakhosi, in the Soweto Derby. Be­fore that game they will wel­come Chippa United in the last 16 of the Telkom Knock­out at Or­lando Sta­dium in Soweto.

“I will say that he is work­ing very hard. As to how far, we should not rush (him). With the in­jury that he sus­tained, I be­lieve he has worked very hard (to be where he is now).

“He is on the good road to re­cov­ery. The goal­keeper coach, med­i­cal team and the tech­ni­cal team will make the de­ci­sion as to when can we utilise him the best pos­si­ble way,” Sre­do­je­vic ex­plained.

Pi­rates have strug­gled to find a per­ma­nent re­place­ment for the late Senzo Meyiwa.

They tried var­i­ous op­tions with­out suc­cess. The list of goal­keep­ers who failed to make the grade at Pi­rates in­cludes Phi­lani Zikalala, Fatau Dauda, Felipe Ovono, Wayne Sandi­lands and Brighton Mh­longo.

Meyiwa died in 2014. Mpontshane also didn’t en­joy the best of starts at Pi­rates but is slowly set­tling in.

Khuzwayo was seen as the miss­ing puz­zle in de­fence for the Buc­ca­neers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.