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Chiefs barely survive Leopard’s attack


By the last count, certified by Google, Chiefs had collected 50 cups in about 50 years. That is a cup a year

Neville's eye

ALL THE games played over the weekend delivered sort of middle of the road performances except for the Kaizer Chiefs-Black Leopards encounter which still has everyone abuzz on both print and social media platforms.

Yours truly half watched this highly anticipated game at Bro’ Chancha’s spiffy Pub ‘* Grill down the road in my neighbourhood. Err… if you happen to know the place, please be kind and keep the peace.

Well, the point is that most of the regulars, some of whom are staunch and long time supporters of the Naturena club, as well as some strangers, sat and looked fixatedly at the big screen put up for their pleasure.

Only problem was the guys bedecked in the gold and black colours of AmaKhosi who had taken up prime spots around the screen, weren’t having a good time in front it.

You see some time into the game the team from Thohoyandou, Limpopo, Black Leopards, had the nerve to upstage the Gautengers by a single goal while the Naturena side were still trying to find the poles.

Leopards had bagged a goal and were grafting for more goals while at the same time thwarting every attempt Chiefs made towards their poles with some gusto.

This was unprecedented and totally unexpected. The unwritten script was that the visitors – Leopards would be at sixes and sevens and doing all the chasing while Chiefs cruised to a quarter-final spot in the Telkom Knockout Cup.

By this time the corridors of Keipoletse Funeral parlour were a far more cheerful place than what one witnessed at Bro’ Chancha’s Pub on Sunday.

Chiefs were in a pickle in this very crucial cup encounter. You know that ever since the upstart Bobby Motaung took over the reins from Papa Kaizer Motaung, the club has not had a piece of SA Bureau of Standards approved silverware gracing their mantelpiece.

By the last count, certified by Google, Chiefs had collected 50 cups in about 50 years. That is a cup a year.

Now Chiefs have tried to patch that spot of bother – the cup drought – throughout the three year reign of teacher Steve Komphela who unfortunately delivered zilch to their trophy cupboard.

So understandably you would think that the new coach Giovanni Solinas and management namely (Bobby) Motaung would be as aware of the crucial nature of this game as the guys sitting on the pub couches were. A lot was at stake.

There was also the prospect of the club, if it won, playing the likes of Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates, Bidvest Wits, SuperSport United, Baroka FC and Maritzburg United who had all booked their places in the knockout stages of the competition the day before.

So the worry was not about Leopards but rather on those matches still ahead. But the resistance put up by Leopards on Sunday seemed to suggest that famous phrase: “Not over my dead body” from the Limpopo side.

The coach was in a terrible spot. He too had seemingly made ample provision for future games and had slim cover for the one at hand. In the Chiefs poles was a strange fellow and not the dependable Itumeleng Khune. On the pitch were yet some more “strangers” in the yellow and black strip.

Word on the vine was that the regulars had been rested in preparation of the much loved derby against Orlando Pirates this coming weekend. So now you see the coach was in an terribly awkward spot brought on by Lidoda Duvha’s unforeseen resistance.

As it turned out the young Hendrick Eckstein stopped the worry just after the hour mark and put Chiefs in a penalty showdown with Leopards.

They live on to contest the quarter-finals next month.