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IF someone offered Farouk Abrahams two draws against SuperSport United and Moroka Swallows from his first two matches in charge of Chippa United he would have taken that deal.
And while it’s still early days, it looks like the former goalkeeper has stabilised the Chippa ship after becoming the fourth man to take over the team since gaining promotion to the PSL at the start of the season.
The draws against SuperSport and Swallows showed the side’s character in coming from behind against two quality sides. They also showed a bite against Birds, but sadly their finishing again let them down.
“Nobody expects anything when you take on quality teams like SuperSport and Swallows, and I’m more than happy with the two points,” interim coach Abrahams said yesterday.
The Chilli Boys face another tough test of their credentials tonight when they take on one of the league’s form sides, Platinum Stars. Calvin Johnson’s team have been one of the surprise packages this season, and are currently third on the Premiership log with six wins, one draw and three defeats.
But Abrahams said Chippa will be gunning for only their second victory in the league, as maximum points at home is going to be vitally important if they are to survive the drop at the end of the season.
“Stars have been impressive this season, but I fancy we can get three points tomorrow night. That has been the message to the players – play to win – otherwise why do we play this game if we don’t want to win,” Abrahams said. “I mapped out a certain way I want us to play. At home, we must be attack-minded and take the game to the opposition. The only time we must sit back and defend is when we are protecting a lead.”
With the Cape derby against a disjointed Ajax Cape Town on Friday night, Abrahams will be hoping his players keep their eyes on the ball in tomorrow’s match. The derby, though, can maybe also push the players to try harder and play above themselves to earn a starting berth for the Cape Town Stadium clash. “It’s difficult not to think about the derby, because it does loom large,” the former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper coach said. “A positive result against Stars will certainly add value to the build-up towards it.
“I’m sure the players will be pushing hard, because everybody wants to play in the derby. That’s a nice headache to have.”
One player who will certainly feature tonight and in the derby is former Ajax playmaker Brent Carelse, who will captain Chippa tonight in the absence of the injured right back Vuyisile Ntombayithethi.
Ball-winner Buyani Sali is suspended for the clash, which could see Abrahams play around with his combinations for tonight’s encounter.
Meanwhile, Ajax will be trying to put all the boardroom troubles behind them when they face Wits in Johannesburg tonight. The squabble between the shareholders of Cape Town Stars, which owns 49% of the club, has definitely had an effect on the team, but it’s up to the players to stay focused and get something from the trip.
(All matches 7.30pm)
Tonight: Kaizer Chiefs v Moroka Swallows (FNB Stadium), Wits v Ajax Cape Town (Bidvest Stadium), Maritzburg United v SuperSport United (Harry Gwala Stadium), Chippa United v Platinum Stars (Athlone Stadium. Tomorrow: Black Leopards v Orlando Pirates (Peter Mokaba Stadium), Golden Arrows v Bloemfontein Celtic (King Zwelthini Stadium), Free State Stars v University of Pretoria (Charles Mopeli Stadium), Mamelodi Sundowns v AmaZulu (Lucas Moripe Stadium).