Judging from Chiefs’ misfortunes since the start of the new season, it appears that it may take a while before they run like a well-oiled machine.
JOHANNESBURG – Two rivals, two defeats. That must be heart-wrenching for Kaizer Chiefs supporters who believed the club’s fortunes would turn around this season following the arrival of coach Gavin Hunt.
But judging from Chiefs’ misfortunes since the start of the new season, it appears that it may take a while before they run like a well-oiled machine.
The win over Maritzburg United in the MTN8 quarter-finals was far from convincing. Amakhosi needed left-back Yagan Sasman to score a brace for a come-from-behind defeat of the Team of Choice after Thabiso Kutumela opened his account for the season with a well-taken goal in the first half.
But that Chiefs went on to embarrassingly lose 3-0 to champions Mamelodi Sundowns on the opening day of the DStv Premiership showed that it will take some time before they can compete with the best in the land.
Chiefs were bound to finish second best to Sundowns considering the talent at their disposal, as the latter have bigger pockets, while the former are stuck with a year-long transfer ban.
But Chiefs must be exasperated that they can’t seem to end Sundowns’ dominance over them. They were defeated by the Brazilians in the ‘bio-bubble’ and many Amakhosi supporters are still bemoaning last season’s major failure.
Chiefs held the umbrella for the Brazilians as they lost out on league glory on the last day of the season, thanks to a 1-1 draw with Baroka FC, while Pitso Mosimane’s charges thrashed Black Leopards 3-0 through a Lebohang Maboe hat-trick.
After that defeat against Sundowns, Chiefs appeared to dust themselves off as they dished out a convincing outing over Chippa United in midweek. But that they went on to lose to arch-rivals Orlando Pirates on Saturday in the first leg of the Wafa Wafa semi-finals proved they still have issues.
Again, the Buccaneers have a stronger squad on paper compared to Chiefs, having signed Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo during the transfer window. But not many expected Amakhosi to be walloped by Pirates in such a fashion.
Goals from Zakhele Lepasa, Vincent Pule and Thembinkosi Lorch ensured that Pirates ran out 3-0 victors at Orlando Stadium.
Lepasa’s goal appeared to be offside in the first half but Pule and Lorch’s goals were unquestionable. However, more than anything, it showed that coach Hunt still has a lot to do before Chiefs have a solid defensive line, especially after chopping and changing.
The return of goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi in the last two matches was expected. But it appears that Hunt may have jumped the gun going into a game the magnitude of the Soweto Derby – a spectacle veteran keeper Itumeleng Khune knows well.
In the past few matches Hunt has stressed about the team lacking defenders.
But that he’s had to chop and change between Siyabonga Ngezana and Ramahlwe Mphahlele, alongside Daniel Cardoso, has destabilised Chiefs’ form.
With Amakhosi scheduled to meet newbies TS Galaxy in the Premiership tomorrow night, they’ll be hoping to return to winning ways. But Hunt will have to start putting together a fully assembled team that can compete week in and week out.