Sunday Times

Amakhosi sup­port­ers don’t miss too much as side fails

- By MARK GLEE­SON Kaizer Chiefs F.C. · Polokwane City F.C. · Manchester City Football Club · Itumeleng Khune · Austria · Rodney Ramagalela · Belarus · Belgium · Free State · Durban · Iceland · Moses Mabhida · Kaizer Motaung · Khama Billiat · Free State Stars F.C.

● Kaizer Chiefs rat­tled around an empty Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium yes­ter­day, con­demned to play­ing be­hind closed doors, and then pun­ished as Polok­wane City’s Vusimusi Mn­gomezulu scored a stun­ning long-range goal to beat them 1-0.

It was one of the strikes of the sea­son, bril­liantly placed as he curled it wide of Itume­leng Khune from well out­side the penalty area at the end of a se­ries of swift for­ward passes from the Lim­popo-based team, and wor­thy of win­ning any con­test.

Chiefs lost a chance to go top of the Absa Premier­ship stand­ings, even if just for a few hours, with the de­feat which leaves them on 14 points out of a pos­si­ble 30, af­ter a third of their league sea­son.

Polok­wane City joined them in the top five as they stretched to six games their un­beaten run and won for only the sec­ond time in 15 clashes with Chiefs.

AmaKhosi bat­tled to break through a solid back­line as Polok­wane City again dis­played their de­fen­sive prow­ess and left a frus­trated Chiefs to shoot more in hope than in con­vic­tion from long range.

Polok­wane clev­erly cut the routes down the wing for Chiefs and pushed an ex­tra man back into the de­fence when­ever Chiefs had pos­ses­sion.

The Lim­popo club looked for their op-

Chair­man Kaizer Mo­taung is­sued a lengthy state­ment in­sist­ing that no one should try to get into the venue

por­tu­ni­ties with swift coun­ters us­ing the pace of Rod­ney Ra­m­a­galela and Mn­gomezulu but of­ten were a lit­tle too slow with the de­liv­ery.

Jabu Maluleke, at 36 years old still re­mark­ably solid and full of guile in the mid­dle, or­ches­trated a lot of Polok­wane’s moves.

His 34th-minute pass over the top of the chiefs de­fence to Mn­gomezulu saw the speedy winger beat the off­side trap but with just Khune to beat was let down by a poor first touch.

But he more than made up for it with his stun­ning goal in stop­page time at the end of the first half.

Chiefs were more en­ter­pris­ing at the start of the sec­ond half, forc­ing a free kick in the 56th minute but Khama Bil­liat, again out of form and wan­der­ing aim­lessly with­out pur­pose, was off tar­get.

But that was as good as it got for Chiefs on an evening where they badly needed sup­port in the stands to lift their per­for­mance.

Chiefs of­fi­cials had been con­cerned that sup­port­ers would still try to get to watch the match and in the build-up to the game made sure they got the mes­sage to fans that no one would be al­lowed into the venue.

Chair­man Kaizer Mo­taung is­sued a lengthy state­ment in­sist­ing that no one should try to get into the venue.

Chiefs were or­dered last month by the Premier Soc­cer League’s dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee to play three matches be­hind closed doors fol­low­ing the hor­rific ri­ot­ing that came af­ter they lost in the cup to Free State Stars in Dur­ban in April. One of the matches was sus­pended and this was the first game of the sanc­tion.

Sev­eral peo­ple were hurt and mil­lions of rands of dam­age caused by fans who rushed from the stands onto the pitch, break­ing tele­vi­sion cam­eras, ad­ver­tis­ing boards and at­tack­ing se­cu­rity per­son­nel. Sev­eral have since been iden­ti­fied and pros­e­cuted.

“We hope this sanc­tion is a les­son to the fans. Such be­hav­iour goes against the very ethos of what AmaKhosi stand for, which is love and peace,” Mo­taung said.

In the end there were 103 se­cu­rity per­son­nel, 48 from the tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tion crew and an­other 100-odd reporters, medics, sta­dium work­ers and of­fi­cials who got to see the game first-hand — but those locked out did not miss much.

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