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Amakhosi aim for solid finish

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Currently they are seventh on the log with 32 points and are eight adrift of leaders Orlando Pirates, with only eight games remaining

Ramahlwe Mphahlele says that Kaizer Chiefs probably cannot win the League title, but they have to focus on what they still can win this season - the Nedbank Cup.Picture: Samuel Shivambu

With the curtain coming down on the Absa Premiership and the pretenders being separating from the real contenders, Kaizer Chiefs defender Ramahlwe Mphahlele has realistically excused his team from the title race.

Amakhosi have, just like in the last three seasons, found the going tough in the quest to challenge for league honours this campaign.

Currently they are seventh on the log with 32 points and are eight adrift of leaders Orlando Pirates, with only eight games remaining.

Chiefs find themselves in this quagmire because of the bizarre decision of appointing Giovanni Solinas, who never had what it was going to take to lead his side to glory – he only lasted five months.

Enter Ernst Middendorp, who has been a breath of fresh air at the Glamour Boys. But the team has also had its own frailties under Middendorp – a loose defensive structure and a rusty attacking unit. As a result, according to Mphahlele, Middendorp’s appointment was a bit too late in terms of enabling them to challenge for the league.

“Honestly speaking, for us, it’s unrealistic (to win the league). Maybe had the (new) technical team come a little bit earlier, we’d be talking a different story,” he said. “For now, the team goal is to finish in a better position.”

But it’s been a disappointing season so far. And with the league out of reach, and two domestic competitions – the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout – also gone, it’s only the Nedbank Cup that’s up for grabs.

In South Africa’s premier club competition, Chiefs will battle with Cape Town City for a place in the last four. Due to the magnitude of that game, Mphahlele is hoping that his teammates can give their best in the remaining matches.

“We can control the Nedbank Cup, it’s in our hands but we obviously have a very difficult opponent,” he said. “But for us to win it, we have to beat these guys. It causes stress and pressure (thinking that if we lose the Nedbank) we’ll have another barren season.

“We just have to give it our full attention, and go for it. I think if we push this Nedbank, maybe it can break this dark cloud and we can start winning trophies. But I am hopeful we’ll do well.”

As for the League, up next for Chiefs is bottom club Maritzburg United at FNB Stadium tomorrow.

The former SA Under-23 captain foresees a tightly contested encounter, but remains optimistic of grabbing all three points.

“It’s going to be a very difficult game for us. They are fighting for their lives at the bottom and hoping to save the club, but unfortunately we need the points We’ll give it everything,” Mphahlele said.