Ramahlwe not getting carried away.
KAIZER Chiefs bright start had all the hallmarks of a team capable of challenging for the Absa Premiership – a good fighting spirit, goals and the ability to come back with maximum points from a hostile environment.
But Ramahlwe Mphahlele isn’t getting carried away.
Chiefs did, after all, concede two goals and were forced to fight for a match they comfortably controlled for the most part in the 3-2 win over Highlands Park.
“It’s still early,” Mphahlele said. “It was a good start. We can build on the game against Highlands Park and rectify the mistakes that we made. There’s no need to get carried away.
“This season is still long.
“We are still a work in progress. Basically, we are still in pre-season. We are not in the MTN8, so we are still going to get another chance to prepare the team and polish little things. It’s still early for us.
“We have a long season to go. We are trying to not think about what happened last season, we are trying to put it behind us. We want to better this season, improve our position and improve as a team.”
Chiefs will host Black Leopards at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday. This will be another opportunity to see how much they have shaken off their disappointment from the last four seasons where they finished without a trophy.
“That team always plays well when they play against us,” Mphahlele said.
“Everyone is going to fight. We just have to fight harder and keep in mind that we are a big team, much is expected from us, so we have to deliver.”
The new-look Chiefs that was on display against the Lions of the North not only showed great determination, the side also featured a number of players who were sidelined by injuries towards the end of last season.
Eric Mathoho and Lebogang Manyama were instrumental for Amakhosi after recovering from their injuries. Manyama netted a brace in against Highlands while Mathoho was colossal at the back.
“It’s not easy to come back from an injury and then boom you are at your best,” Mphahlele said. “It takes time and a lot of hard work. I am happy for Lebo and Eric, because we know what they are capable of doing.
I just hope that they keep going and they play big games like they did against Highlands.
We need every positive aspect to help the team and get it to its best. These players are important and will help the team. They are not new, but them coming back into the team is a boost.”
Mphahlele had his own injury nightmares but he recovered in time to go to Egypt with Bafana Bafana in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon). Mphahlele only played a few minutes when Thamsanqa Mkhize sustained a knock against Namibia. Mkhize was the first-choice rightback, starting all Bafana’s matches.
“Every player wants to play,” Mphahlele said.
“Thami was doing well. There were games where I played in the qualifiers, against Nigeria, Seychelles and Libya. He was on the bench and what I liked is that he never showed any negativity or use bad language.
“He supported me. I had to support him, just push him at training and show the coach that if Thami is injured or lacking I can take over.
“I am happy that he played, he played well. I just had to open my heart and be happy for him.”