Home Sport Soccer Empty stadiums – Chiefs need to be mentally strong

Empty stadiums – Chiefs need to be mentally strong

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“It’s a difficult match without the supporters because we have to be mentally strong,”

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Kaizer Chiefs talisman Khama Billiat is aware of the danger that Chippa United pose for Amakhosi in their Absa Premiership clash at the Moses Mabhida Stadium tomorrow (6pm).

The match will be the last of Chiefs’ two games played behind closed doors at the Durban arena following crowd violence in a Nedbank Cup semi-final 2-0 defeat to Free State Stars last season.

The PSL disciplinary committee found Amakhosi guilty and handed them a three-match fan ban, one of which was suspended.

Chiefs lost the first match 1-0 to Polokwane City and Billiat lamented having to play in an empty stadium.

“It’s a difficult match without the supporters because we have to be mentally strong,” he said.

“The coach (Giovanni Solinas) has been emphasising that without our supporters we have to prepare ourselves. We had to learn from the loss and we don’t want to go through that again.

“I hope we won’t make the same mistakes and we’ll take the game as a professionals.”

With Moses Mabhida Stadium their second home after FNB Stadium, Chiefs looked in despair without the backing of their fans as they were on the back foot against a confident City team who had nothing to lose.

Their next opponents Chippa may not have the best fan base in Durban but they pose a threat as they are hungry for points after a string of poor results.

“We are really looking forward to the game and we’ll try to be mentally strong. We’ll make sure that we grind for the result to make our supporters happy because it’s not easy for those in Durban. They want to be there for us.”

Amakhosi needed solitary strikes from defensive players Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Willard Katsande to bag successive wins against SuperSport United and Black Leopards recently.

That is something of a concern for a team who have an attack consisting of Billiat, Leonardo Castro, Dumisani Zuma, Bernard Parker and Gustavo Paez.

But 28-year-old Billiat, who already has six goals and four assists in only 16 matches this season, believes that whoever scores is benefiting the club.

“As long as we win, we are happy,” he said. “Kaizer Chiefs is bigger than the strikers. Strikers come and go but the club remains.

“If the set-piece (scored by a defender) can make us win the game, then why not?”

Solinas is also not fazed by his strikers’ two-game goalless streak. In fact, he’s tipped one of them to be the top goal-scorer at the end of the season.

“Please ask me this question at the end of the season. I have the best strikers in the PSL,” he said.

“Please check how many goals Billiat and Castro will score,” Solinas said as he concluded his post-match press conference.