George Maluleka is of the opinion that Kaizer Chiefs are slowly silencing the critics who do not believe Amakhosi have the depth to deal with the demanding season that lies ahead.
Without three of their star players – Bernard Parker, Siphiwe Tshabalala and Knowledge Musona – Amakhosi have managed to put smiles on the faces of their supporters, who may have even have forgotten about their missing stars now that the likes of Maluleka and Mandla Masango are showing that they too deserve to play regularly in the starting line-up.
Amakhosi have won four of the four matches they have played thus far and it looks as though they are just warming up.
“People are saying this is not our strongest team, but we are proving there is depth in the squad. We have a lot of good players and I believe whoever we play in the team can perform. Every chance we get as players we have to make sure we use it and that’s what players are doing. We are going full on out to impress the coach (Stuart Baxter). That’s one of the reasons why we are doing well. Players are raising their hands at the moment and it is helping the team. We are playing well and getting goals. Now we have to make sure we are consistent because that’s key,” said Maluleka.
The former SuperSport United midfielder, who scored a brilliant brace at the weekend in the MTN8 first leg semi-final away to defending champions Platinum Stars, is enjoying his new role as Amakhosi’s playmaker and would love to chip in with more goals to help secure some silverware this season.
“I have been focusing on my game a lot because I want to keep improving. I have been getting lots of criticism because of the opportunities that I have not been converting. But I did not let that affect me. I know the goals will come naturally. I would like to get more goals so that I can help the team. I am playing in a position that Parker or Musona would play, so I need to make sure I keep on working hard. But I won’t put myself under pressure.”
Maluleka gets another chance to impress coach Baxter in that playmaker role when Chiefs play their first home match in the league at FNB Stadium this evening (7.30pm). Amakhosi have collected maximum points in their two league matches away from home, against Free State Stars and Black Aces, and are determined to make a similar start at home. “It’s very important we get a win in our first match at home. We managed to get points away and now we should capitalise on the home game,” said Malu-leka
But he added: “It’s going to be very tough. I think they are playing well, but then we shouldn’t worry too much about how they play. That’s what we’ve been doing lately. We focus on ourselves. We are all working very hard and we take it one game at a time.”
Celtic, meanwhile, are still looking for their first victory of the season, having drawn their first two matches, against Aces and Pirates. They were also knocked out of the MTN8 on penalties by Wits, so that was a tough start for coach Ernst Middendorp, who will have to start getting those victories in order to prevent the new owners getting impatient. There is no better way to impress the new bosses than to win away from home against Chiefs.
In today’s other game Polokwane City host Ajax Cape Town at Peter Mokaba Stadium (7.30pm). City, on three points after two matches, will fancy their chances of getting a second victory of the season against an Ajax side that usually struggles in Polokwane. - The Star