Kaizer Chiefs are set for a sixth successive season without silverware after they were bundled out of the Nedbank Cup by second-tier Richards Bay on Sunday.
JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs are set for a sixth successive season without silverware after they were bundled out of the Nedbank Cup by GladAfrica Championship outfit Richards Bay 2-1 at the FNB Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The second-tier side landed the sucker punch to Chiefs’ cup aspirations in stoppage time after a rebound shot from the woodwork was slotted into an empty net by Siyabonga Vilane – a few minutes after Leonardo Castro missed a chance to wrap up the game for Amakhosi.
Chiefs came into this match with their backs against the wall after an underwhelming outing in the MTN8 and a slow start in the league. But their job was even tougher considering they’ve fallen on their sword against so-called small teams in this competition in recent seasons.
Coach Gavin Hunt, though, presented a brave front, giving rare starting berths to left back Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya and midfielder Siphelele Ntshangase. The former was clearly rusty, with Richards Bay taking most of their shots from distance from his flank.
But while the GladAfrica Championship side were looking to catch Chiefs on a break, the home side’s gameplan was all about building from the back.
Chiefs had the superior ball possession in the first 30 minutes of the match, but failed to penetrate the defensive wall of Richards Bay, which stood firm, repelling all sorts of danger from captain Samir Nurkovic and company.
The visitors, though, capitalised on Chiefs’ poor defending to get an unlikely breakthrough against the run of play. Khanyisa Mayo delivered a delightful in-swinging corner, which Daniel Akpeyi completely missed in the air before it landed on Thabani Dube’s head to ease home.
Mayo was at it again before halftime, sending another dangerous corner kick into Akpeyi’s far post. But the latter was equal to the task this time around, parrying the effort away for another corner.
Chiefs made four substitutions after halftime – Dumisani Zuma, Leonardo Castro, Njabulo Blom and Lebogang Manyama replacing Happy Mashiane, Darrel Matsheke, Bernard Parker and Ntshangase.
Nurkovic nearly found the equaliser for Chiefs early in the second stanza, but his pin-point header from Nkosingiphile Ngcobo’s corner was saved off the line by goalkeeper Malcom Jacobs.
Things appeared to go from bad to worse for Amakhosi who were reduced to 10 men after Ntiya-Ntiya got his second booking, and subsequently his marching orders, after stamping on Richards Bay right back Katleho Maphathe.
But Chiefs’ never-say-die attitude ensured that they got the much-needed equaliser. Zuma teed up Castro, who attempted a half-volley with his back facing goal only to hit the ground before pouncing on the rebound with a full volley that came off the underside of the upright.
In the end, though, it was Richards Bay that reigned supreme over the top-flight side, as Vilane scored the winner to shock South Africa’s glamour club.
Chiefs, who have also blown hot and cold in their league campaign, and they are eighth with 18 points, 15 behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, must try and win the league to replenish their trophy cabinet. But this, too, looks like a lost cause.