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Chiefs banking on senior players to guide them to safety

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Luck has not been on the side of Kaizer Chiefs, but nothing has gone right for them this season.

Lebogang Manyama, Erick Mathoho and Ramahlwe Mphahlele of Kaizer Chiefs. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Beleaguered Kaizer Chiefs are in the midst of a protracted crisis which will ramp up a notch or two if they suffer defeat in the CAF Champions League clash against Petro de Luanda on Saturday night at the FNB Stadium.

Luck has not been on their side, but nothing has gone right for Chiefs this season.

On the Champions League front, they have one point after two rounds in Group B.

They have yet to score a goal but have conceded four. Angolan visitors Petro de Luanda have fared even worse with two defeats in as many games.

They tried to halt the spate of poor results by sacking their coach Toni Casano last week after back-toback defeats.

Chiefs midfielder Lebogang Manyama said his teammates are braced for another uphill battle. He says the players have steeled themselves to put up a brave front.

“It will not be easy, but we will make sure we go out in full force on Saturday,” said the seasoned Manyama. “We need to produce a full attack against Petro Atletico.

“In this tournament, you must win your home games, and that makes things a bit easier.

“Luck has not been on our side, but we are committed to keep on marching and play hard.”

Manyama said the strength of the Group B teams meant that Chiefs would battle in every game.

“He said these teams have all performed well in Africa in past competitions. We knew this group was going to be tough,” said Manyama.

“We are playing some of the top teams in Africa, like Wydad and Horoya. We slipped up from the start because we should have won the first game (against Horoya) because we had so many chances to win.

“We got punished severely for missing those chances.

“There are still four games to go, and we need to target wins to get some maximum points in our home games.

“At this stage, all the teams still have to play each other.

“Any team can lose a match – that is how football has become, so all is not lost. With two home and two away games left, we still stand a good chance of making it through to the knockout stage.”

For Chiefs to turn their season around, their senior players like Samir Nurkovic , Itumeleng Khune‚ Bernard Parker, Eric Mathoho and Manyama need to produce dominant performances.

Chiefs have the worst defensive record in Group B, and the team will have to guard against leaking goals on Saturday.

Coach Gavin Hunt has brought several youngsters through from the club’s lower ranks, and it is time for these greenhorns to repay the faith shown in them.