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Chiefs fully capable of turning their fortunes around

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Kaizer Chiefs are not overwhelmed by the daunting task of juggling continental and domestic football, according to Amakhosi wing-back Happy Mashiane.

Happy Mashiane of Kaizer Chiefs. File Picture: Itumeleng English, African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs are not overwhelmed by the daunting task of juggling continental and domestic football, according to Amakhosi wing-back Happy Mashiane.

Following their 2-0 victory over Angola’s Petro de Luanda in the Caf Champions League at the weekend, Chiefs visit Maritzburg United in the Premiership today.

After losing out on the Premiership title on the final day of last season, Chiefs were expected to build on those positives this campaign, especially under the guidance of multiple championship winning coach Gavin Hunt.

But the campaign has gone south. Amakhosi have been knocked out of the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup, while they are in 10th place on the league standings with 19 points, a whopping 17 behind leaders and defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

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In the last two weeks, Chiefs were hoping for a change of fortunes in the Champions League, but their performance in the three matches played has been average, winning one, drawing one and losing one.

That solitary win came in their latest match, against Petro de Luanda at FNB Stadium on Saturday, to remain third in Group C with four points, level with Horoya Athletic Club and five behind leaders and two-time champions Wydad AC.

Chiefs, though, are eager to make things right by their domestic issues today when they clash with strugglers Maritzburg at Harry Gwala Stadium.

It’s a huge transition considering that domestic and continental football are different worlds.

“It’s not easy, but I won’t say it’s affecting me because this is what I signed up for. I wanted to play football. I think juggling between Caf and the Premiership is not easy but it’s something that we can work on and keep fit,” Mashiane said.

The Team of Choice are 15th on the standings with 13 points, a point ahead of bottom side Black Leopards. But they’ve proven to be something of a bogey team for Chiefs in recent years, winning the corresponding fixture at FNB Stadium earlier this season.

“Maritzburg don’t concede (goals) that much. Most of the time when they are playing, they are the dominating teams in terms of keeping the ball. They have speedy players, so it won’t be easy for us to take them on and just score,” Mashiane said.

Chiefs’ season might have been disappointing thus far but Mashiane has been one of their standout players. The 23-year-old has featured in 12 matches for Chiefs this campaign and has notched up four contributions via three goals and one assist. One of those goals came during their win over Petro.

But as much as he would be delighted to contribute for Chiefs against Maritzburg, Mashiane says he will show respect for opposition coach Ernst Middendorp, who gave him his senior debut in 2018 when he coached Amakhosi.

“It’s nothing personal … I have to respect him in the sense that if I do score, I won’t celebrate because he’s one of the coaches who gave me the platform to showcase my talent,” Mashiane said.