Chiefs will need convincing wins in their next two matches against Golden Arrows and Mariztburg United, who both have a point to prove
Top of the Premiership standings, three Coach of the Month accolades, two Quarterly Innovations coronations It’s been quite an eventful seven months for Kaizer Chiefs.
But they’ll know it’s too early for them to start putting the champagne on ice as dropping points in only three matches will see that blistering foundation under tremendous siege, especially with defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns still in the hunt.
There’s been a jovial atmosphere at the Naturena-based outfit this season as they’ve dominated their peers, bagging 42 points out of 54, thanks to 13 wins, three draws and two losses.
That prosperity has brought hope to the club’s supporters that this might be the season to end their four-year trophy drought, which would be especially special for them with it being their 50th year.
This weekend the Glamour Boys suffered a niggle on the road, drawing 1-1 with struggling Black Leopards at the Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday.
The Brazilians capitalised on Chiefs’ slump, defeating title rivals SuperSport United by 2-1 at Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium on Sunday afternoon as they closed the gap to seven points.
So Chiefs must be careful in their next few games to make sure Downs don’t catch up.
Say Chiefs do drop points and Sundowns duly capitalise, there’s still the matter of goal-difference that becomes significant when the calculators come into play at the end of the season.
And Chiefs have so far handled that side of their business impressively, as they are on a healthy +23 goal difference, 13 ahead of the Brazilians, who’ve been far from their best in front of goal this season.
A chunk of Chiefs’ scoring has come from set-pieces this season, although coach Ernst Middendorp is adamant his charges are able to create goals from open-play.
Chiefs will need convincing wins in their next two matches against Golden Arrows and Mariztburg United, who both have a point to prove.
Arrows are coached by former Chiefs man Steve Komphela, who was forced to resign two years ago after closing in on yet another barren run with the club. Maritzburg, on the other hand, have been Chiefs’ bogey side this season – after knocking them out of the Telkom Knockout and holding them to a one-all draw at the Harry Gwala Stadium.
This weekend, Chiefs meet Abafana Bes’thende hoping to extend their lead at the summit to 10 points, with Sundowns set to be busy on continental duty as they visit Petro de Luanda in Angola on Saturday.
And while games in hand are not points guaranteed, Sundowns have shown their class in the last two seasons, winning back-to-back championships despite a congested schedule.
Think Bidvest Wits and Orlando Pirates The two Johannesburg-based sides were top of the standings for better part of last season.
However, Sundowns showed their zest and maturity in the last days of the season as they took the title from right under Pirates’ nose on the last day, something that should be enough to make sure Chiefs guard against complacency.