We have quality players who we can rely on but for some time we have been disappointing ourselves.
CAPE TOWN – It would seem the football gods are conspiring against Kaizer Chiefs, who after 51 years of existence are in third-last place – their worst log position ever.
The team’s confidence has been repeatedly battered by a string of rotten results which by this time amounts to one win in nine league matches. Over the last while, some of the performances may have been enough to secure a win but then a few individual errors in defence cost the team dearly.
Team morale in the Kaizer Chiefs camp is at an all-time low and as the team were preparing to fly out to Durban for Wednesday’s match against Benni McCarthy’s AmaZulu; Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro were ruled out of the match.
Chiefs announced on their Twitter account: “Khama Billiat has a cracked leg bone and will be out for two months. Leonardo Castro has an abdominal strain and will be unavailable for the AmaZulu game.”
The two withdrawals spell disaster for the team’s strike force which on occasions have been non-existent this season. It is a bigger blow when preparing for a confident AmaZulu team who have not lost in their last two league games.
Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi has offered some insight into the players’ state of mind.
“We haven’t been coming right with our decisions in games,” said the Nigerian goalkeeper. “Mentally right now we should be strong going to the next game against AmaZulu.
“We have quality players who we can rely on but for some time we have been disappointing ourselves.
“We are taking the pain to AmaZulu. It is high time we start making ourselves happy. It is also high time we started making the fans happy.
“Every team wants to look into our situation, thinking ‘we can get three points or at least a point from Kaizer Chiefs’.
“The players are working physically and mentally to make sure we do better. The AmaZulu game will hopefully be a turn-around for us.”
Akpeyi said the players have taken responsibility for the slump rather than blame coach Gavin Hunt.
“We’ve spoken to ourselves and the only strength we have for now is to keep on encouraging ourselves. We believe we are going to come right in the next game.
“We talk to ourselves to try to identify the problem after each game. I think, gauging from the response of every player, things are coming right. We hope for a turn-around in our next game.”
Despite the 2-0 defeat last weekend, Akpeyi is expected to retain his place as the goalmouth custodian for today’s match at Kings Park. He did pull off at least two fine saves to deny Maritzburg additional goals.
Serbian Samir Nurkovic will very likely be included in the run-on XI because of Billiat’s absence.
Nurkovic won’t be fully match fit yet, but his goalmouth predatory skills could come to the fore with more game time.
The match at Jonsson Kings Park kicks off at 5pm and will mark the third time McCarthy will be in charge of the ninth-placed AmaZulu.