Home Sport Chiefs out to deny Downs’ title celebrations at Calabash

Chiefs out to deny Downs’ title celebrations at Calabash

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Despite the topsy-turvy season Chiefs have endured – having gone nine years without a piece of silverware – they’ll not want Sundowns to be crowned at their home, right?

Cavin Johnson, head coach of Kaizer Chiefs would want his team to make it difficult for Mamelodi Sundowns on Thursday night. Picture: Gavin Barker, BackpagePix

Mihlali Baleka

Kaizer Chiefs’ struggles are well documented, but they could have a huge say in when champions-elect Mamelodi Sundowns will officially be crowned.

The Brazilians will make the short trip from Chloorkop to the FNB Stadium on Thursday with the chance of sealing their seventh successive crown by beating the Amakhosi, provided they beat TS Galaxy last night. Their championship could also be confirmed if Stellenbosch lose to Golden Arrows on Wednesday.

Despite the topsy-turvy season Chiefs have endured – having gone nine years without a piece of silverware – they’ll not want Sundowns to be crowned at their home, right?

After all, Chiefs need points as much as Sundowns, as they could potentially miss out on the Top 8 next season if they don’t win their remaining matches.

On Saturday night, Chiefs bounced back to winning ways to snap a four-game losing streak as they beat SuperSport United 2-1 in the league in Polokwane.

It was a result that bought coach Cavin Johnson some breathing space, given that there was an online petition for him to be sacked even before the end of the season.

Johnson will reflect on his time as Chiefs’ head coach as a disappointing one, having failed to live up to expectations in the past six months. But all is not lost. It’s still the club’s ambition to finish in the top half of the standings to qualify for the lucrative MTN8 next season.

So, it is playing against teams such as Sundowns and showing their mental toughness to get a result from these games that will ensure they reach the promised land.

The win over SuperSport might not have been pretty, but it sure proved that their players can have big-match temperament and can grind out results when need be. Both scorers on the night – Christian Saile and Mduduzi Shabalala – have been criticised for missing chances in the past, but they delivered when it mattered.

While Johnson will be pleased by the fact that his strikers are finding the back of the next after a four-game goalless run, he’ll want the defence to be solid as well. Chiefs have been enduring a poor defensive run as they’ve conceded in the past five games, exposing goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma.

The Chiefs’ No.1 was once the light in a dark time for the club, keeping seven clean sheets in eight games, before the wheels came off recently. And with Sundowns eager to change their fortunes, after crashing out of the CAF Champions League semi-finals, they’ll want to be at their best at FNB.

So, the onus will be on Bvuma and his defence to ensure that they close down the Brazilians’ front-runners in the hope of denying them a goal that could result in a huge win for the latter.

After all, Chiefs might have not been at their best, but you’d bet on them to show some grit against a rival and deny them the opportunity of being crowned champions at their home, right?

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