Johannesburg – A victory over arch-rivals Orlando Pirates in the pre-season Carling Black Label Cup will set the tone for Kaizer Chiefs this season, according to captain Itumeleng Khune.
Chiefs seem to have lost ground in their rivalry against the Buccaneers in the last two seasons, as they seek to win the pre-season trophy for the first time at an already sold-out FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
“This is the second year of the competition, and we can't lose it for a second time,” Khune said on Thursday.
“There is still a lot of work ahead but our supporters will judge us on how we will do (this season) against Pirates.
“After this, it's the MTN8 and the league, so a win on Saturday will get the supporters behind us.”
Chiefs have picked up a single trophy in the last 24 months, while Pirates lifted six from a possible eight domestic titles that were on offer.
Amakhosi, however, showed their intentions ahead of the new campaign with an impressive win over Moroka Swallows on their way to lifting the Gauteng Cup last weekend.
They were sharp in attack, particularly on the break, with Lehlohonolo Majoro and Siphiwe Tshabalala playing crucial roles.
“The players are hungry for success, and we are pretty confident,” Khune said.
“There is a lot of pride at stake now, with the stadium sold out, so we will go out and give a good showing.”
The fans – and not the coaches – vote for the starting line-ups and substitutions of both teams in the pre-season gimmick tournament.
The starting teams were expected to be named on Thursday evening.
The roles of the coaches would not be limited, however, according to Chiefs mentor Stuart Baxter.
“There is still a lot of information to be found in the game,” Baxter said.
“It's difficult to plan strategy, but the format is the format.
“But still, there has never been anything friendly in a match between Chiefs and Pirates.”
Chiefs will be without Tshabalala, who is injured for the clash.
There were earlier concerns on the availability of striker Kingston Nkhatha, who picked up a foot injury last week, but the burly Zimbabwean was part of the side's training sessions for the highly-anticipated clash. – Sapa