Chiefs look to Jose the 'headman'

Kaizer Chiefs fans will find out on Saturday if Jose Macamo is really what he's made them believe he is in the last three games.

That Amakhosi are joint-leaders of the Castle Premiership with newcomers Black Leopards and are in the semifinals of the BP Top Eight is largely because of the exploits of the sprightly Mozambican international striker.

Macamo has come up with three goals in the same number of games and already the Amakhosi faithful are thinking fears that the club would struggle to find a replacement for Siyabonga Nomvete have been allayed.

However, even the most ardent of Chiefs fans would agree that scoring against Wits University, Ria Stars and Classic does not necessarily pass as proof of a player's capabilities.

The true test, they'd concur, is in the Big One.

And at the FNB Stadium tomorrow, Macamo gets the chance to prove his worth when Amakhosi attempt to rid Orlando Pirates of the Top Eight title as early as the semifinal stage.

Macamo will be attempting to become only the first player since the formation of the Castle Premiership to score in his first Soweto derby. Not the easiest of tasks for the player, who has proven to be especially dangerous in the air - his goals against Wits and Classic were headers.

But in the three matches, Macamo has proven to be a quality striker with a good sense of positioning and an eye for goal.

And with his partner Lucky Maselesele in a good vein of form, the Pirates defence should brace themselves for a tough afternoon.

Pirates coach Augusto Palacios has watched Macamo though and believes he has him figured out.

"We always analyse our opponents and we are aware of what Macamo is capable of," Palacios said. "He's very effective as a header and we have a plan in place to stop him."

The former Peruvian international has also realised how potent Amakhosi can be from set-pieces. "They've scored most of their goals from dead-ball situations and we are going to have to do our best not to concede unnecessary free kicks near our danger area."

And then there's Chiefs' tendency to strike early.

"We're going to have to be on the offensive from the outset because if we wait Chiefs will punish us. They've proven to be dangerous in the first few minutes."

While the Buccaneers' rearguard seems ready for a gold and black onslaught, the same cannot really be said of the Chiefs defence. Coach Muhsin Ertugral might have to do without Gary Goldstone, who sprained a calf muscle in Wednesday's league clash against Classic.

That, though, should not be a big problem for Ertugral, who has other able defenders.

Malawian international captain Patrick Mabedi has improved a lot at the heart of defence, while Cyril Nzama and Isaac Mabotsa are rock solid.

Pirates will be looking at birthday-boy Thabang Lebese and Pollen Ndlanya to help them put one over their former club. Lebese, who turns 28 today, has settled down since joining from Ria Stars towards the end of the season and should be the player to watch.

The battle of the midfield once again promises to be a tight one with Pirates looking to have a slight edge - especially if Thabo Mngomeni is fit enough to start alongside Godfrey Sapula.

Stanton Fredericks looked out of sorts against Classic while Patrick Mbuthu looked nowhere near his best after coming on from the bench. And with Jabu Pule still out of favour, Ertugral might have to call on the experience of Doctor Khumalo.

Still, the big question is whether Macamo can prove he's the new Nomvete, the player whose jersey (No 23) the Mozambican has taken over.


sign up