"There is great optimism and hope at the club, and we are looking forward to pushing"
ARMED with the best defensive record in the Absa Premiership and a teenager who can’t stop scoring in Ryan Moon, Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela suggested he wasn’t losing sleep over goal difference just yet.
It’s an important aspect of a championship race, but one that’s only highlighted when necessary to decide who takes the trophy home if the teams at the top are tied on points.
Amakhosi pipped Cape Town City 1-0 – striker Moon getting on the end of a defensive blunder to grab his fifth goal in six matches – at FNB Stadium on Saturday night to leapfrog to second place on the table behind Mamelodi Sundowns, who have a four-point lead, as well as a game in hand.
“Listen, championships are based on goal difference,” said Komphela, whose side has scored 19 times (compared to Sundowns’ 32 goals) and have only conceded on 12 occasions from 21 matches.
“If you go to Spain they use head-to-head, but the format of the championship is such that it is points and then goal difference is one of the factors. When you count that then you regret the chances that you missed.”
A narrow scoreline like 1-0 flattered visitors City according to their coach Benni McCarthy, who criticised some of his players for not following instructions.
“On the reflection of the chances and the opportunities created, maybe we could have won 2-0 or 3-0,” said Komphela.
With nine more rounds of the Premier League season to go, Chiefs, and the coach in particular, are desperate to finally end a trophy drought that is heading into a third consecutive campaign.
“Yes it counts,” Komphela said again of the goal difference. “But you can’t stress over it. The priority is points. You have bagged them, they are in, can you then go for goals? We try, but sometimes you cannot want to go for goals and drop points. So we should also appreciate what we have and strive to improve on that, but we want to be tied on points with whoever is on top and then we can look at goal difference because scoring goals is the excitement of the championship.”
Chiefs host Bloemfontein Celtic next in the league this Saturday before taking on Orlando Pirates, another title rival, in the Soweto Derby. Whether it was mind games or a genuine compliment, McCarthy argued Amakhosi had the best possible chance out of all the contenders to catch Sundowns.
“But there are still a lot of games to go, nine of them. I told Benni that they are also not out of it yet because the difference between us and them is only three points,” Komphela said. “There is great optimism and hope at the club, and we are looking forward to pushing. The only time it’s over is when mathematically you can’t make it.”