Chiefs and United will be tested at weekend
BOTH SIDES HAVE BENEFITED FROM MANAGERIAL CHANGES
Both Kaizer Chiefs and Manchester United are ploughing a similar path of revival in recent weeks, re-energised after managerial switches and riding waves generated by the winds of change.
But the extent of the turnaround for both will be given a much deeper examination as they travel away for key games on Sunday - Chiefs to the soccer-mad region that is the Copperbelt in Zambia and the Red Devils to Wembley, where they face Tottenham Hotspur.
New United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has lifted the mood and injected some enthusiasm into a side obviously drowning in a sea of Jose Mourinho-inspired morbidity.
Admittedly his arrival coincided with a run of not too taxing matches and so he has been able to generate momentum. But just how much will only really become apparent, when they face a Tottenham side with legitimate title aspirations and fresh off a midweek cup win over Chelsea.
Chiefs also started well under Ernst Middendorp, who took over from Giovanni Solinas last month. They won their first three games without conceding, then had a blip against champions Mamelodi Sundowns before putting on a rousing performance on Wednesday to beat league-leaders Wits 2-0 away.
But it remains to be seen how the new-found confidence manifests itself in Ndola against Zesco United of Zambia in the third round of the African Confederation Cup.
Middendorp insists he will not make too many changes to the team and wants to do well in the competition. But now that Chiefs are just one or two wins away from inserting themselves into the PSL title race, is there still an appetite to do well in African club competition in which costs can prove exorbitant? Do punters believe the successful runs will continue or that a semblance of past stuttering form will return to both Chiefs and United?
This weekend’s TAB betting pools offer a melting pot of matches from the top African club competition, the Premier Soccer League and all the major leagues in Europe, where clearer patterns are beginning to emerge in both title races and battles against relegation.
OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER.