A breath of fresh ‘draught’ for Chiefs and Pirates
KAIZER CHIEFS faithful have spoken, and they reckon Gustavo Paez is ready to start matches, something that coach Steve Komphela was not keen on doing last season.
The Venezuelan striker joined Amakhosi in the middle of the last season, and was mainly used as an impact player.
But Paez delivered immediately, scoring five goals in 18 appearances in all competitions, to announce he was ready to be Chiefs’ main frontman.
The fans saw that and, in tomorrow’s Carling Black Label Champion Cup Soweto derby at FNB Stadium (Kickoff 3.30pm), the 27-year-old will hope to reward his supporters with a goal or two, as Amakhosi target a third win in this cup friendly.
And though Ryan Moon did wonders by scoring on debut in Bafana Bafana’s first leg 2018 African Nations Championship qualifier against Botswana a few weeks ago, the 20-year-old centreforward is not yet ready to be in Chiefs’ Soweto derby starting line-up, as he only managed to score a single goal out of the six matches he featured in for the Glamour Boys this past season.
Another wise call made by Chiefs’ supporters was that they opted to go with the tried and tested in George Lebese as a suitable replacement for the injured Siphiwe Tshabalala on the left wing.
Lebese, who only started in 16 matches out of the 25 he featured in in all competitions last season, will do well to use this as an opportunity to convince Komphela that he’s ready to start and play more games for him, in what will be the 50-year- old coach’s third, and potentially final, season at the club.
Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, who once again got the most votes, will hope his experienced back four combination will be switched on throughout the match to avoid those last minute errors which derailed their title aspirations the previous season.
KAIZER CHIEFS STARTING XI:
Khune, Mphahlele, Tower, Gordinho, Masilela, Ekstein, Katsande, Maluleka, Lebese, Parker, Paez THE FOLLY of this cup’s format could not have been made more glaring by the omission of Abubaker Mobara from the Pirates starting lineup.
How The Ghost did not pick the one shining star from their club’s otherwise disastrous season serves to confirm that good old saying football is a game of opinions.
But surely even a blind man would have seen Mobara’s impact for the Buccaneers in the past campaign?
One of Pirates major problems last season was leaking goal, they let in an astonishing 40. Yet even then, Mobara’s class was evident as he gave the Pirates rearguard a semblance of some steel, composure and calmness.
All he lacked was a good partner and I think Justice Chabalala, back from Chippa United, will be the perfect man for the job.
Having said that, I believe Ayanda Gcaba and Happy Jele deserve the chance to show they still are worthy of the famous black and white jersey. The duo know they owe it to their fans to deliver tomorrow.
Patrick Phungwayo is a player with a lot of potential but injuries have hampered his progress over the years. This is another chance for him to stamp his authority in the lleft-back position. Marc Van Heerden and young Thabo Maele are waiting to pounce should he fluff the opportunity.
Thabo Matlaba is one player who always gives his all, even when the chips are down.
Can this Pirates back four contain the likes of Gustavo Paez, George Lebese and Bernard Parker?
No doubt the fans will want to see goals and not another drab encounter decided on penalties.
But do Pirates have the men to do the job?
Thamsanqa Gabuza and Teniia Ndoro have another chance to prove that they will bang in the goals that can propel Pirates back to glory days.But it is Oupa Manyisa who will have to make things happen for them by pulling the strings from midfield.
ORLANDO PIRATES STARTING XI: Mpontshane, Matlaba, Jele, Gcaba, Phungwayo, Makola, Manyisa, Sarr, Memela, Gabuza, Ndoro