Kaizer backs Chiefs to stay on top

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Kaizer Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung is confident his team will be able to carry their early form into the rest of the season. Photo by: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images.

Johannesburg – Kaizer Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung is confident his team will be able to carry their early form into the rest of the season, as the Premiership takes a break ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations in January next year.

Motaung believes Amakhosi can go all the way in capturing a number of trophies, including the Premiership title, which Chiefs last won in 2005.

“The fans should expect an exciting end of the league,” Motaung said.

“It is still very early days, but I think the chances of us finishing strong are possible.”

With the club's stature in local soccer called into question, Motaung said he and the rest of the club's representatives were eager to get back to winning ways this season.

“We had to take stock of some of the challenges that lay ahead,” he said.

“It was a year for change, so we changed the technical team in preparation for the new season.

“We want to reclaim the glory and we want to do what we used to do in the past.

“The club has a strong culture of winning and the theme is in line with reclaiming our rightful place in football.”

Earlier in the year, at the back of the 2011/12 season, Orlando Pirates were crowned Premiership champions for the second successive year when the Soweto side beat Golden Arrows 4-2 in their last game to hold off fellow title chasers Moroka Swallows.

The Buccaneers completed another treble winning season, having already bagged the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout trophies in 2011.

Pirates finished two points clear of Swallows, and a further four points ahead of SuperSport United.

A week after the conclusion of the league season, SuperSport won the Nedbank Cup title, beating 10-man Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 in the final.

The new Premiership season kicked off on August 10 when Chiefs thrashed lowly AmaZulu 6-0 in Durban, with striker Bernard Parker scoring four goals.

Amakhosi have led the league standings since the opening round of fixtures, ending the year with a 2-0 victory over AmaZulu in the return fixture, to leave them on 35 points from 16 fixtures, a point clear of Pirates, and four ahead of Platinum Stars in third.

Parker has been in a rich vein of form, netting nine league goals thus far, level with Swallows' Katlego Mashego, while Maritzburg United's Cuthbert Malajila and Chiefs' Lehlohonolo Majoro have each scored eight.

After the start to the new season, two further trophies Ä the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout Challenge Ä were on offer, with the first going to Swallows who beat SuperSport to lift the MTN8 crown.

Bloemfontein Celtic then defeated Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 at Moses Mabhida Stadium to lift their first ever Telkom Knockout title.

The new Premiership season welcomed debutants the University of Pretoria, who made the step up to the top-tier of local football after winning the National First Division under coach Steve Barker.

AmaTuks finished the first half of the league campaign in an impressive sixth position, 12 points off the pace.

The new season also saw the introduction of the new Q-innovation initiative, with four R1.5 million cash prizes awarded to teams claiming the most points over a period of seven or eight league encounters.

Kaizer Chiefs won the first quarter, while Platinum Stars were awarded the prize money for the second quarter.

The Amakhosi pair of Parker and Stuart Baxter were named player and coach of the first quarter for their efforts in securing a top-of-the-table finish, while the Platinum Stars duo of Cavin Johnson and Henrico Botes were named player and coach of Q2.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, Mamelodi Sundowns suffered their worst ever start to a Premiership season, as the Chloorkop outfit sank to last place under coach Johan Neeskens.

Neeskens was subsequently sacked by club owner Patrice Motsepe, who hired former Bafana Bafana boss Pitso Mosimane as the Dutch mentor's replacement.

Neeskens joined the likes of Maarten Stekelenberg (Ajax Cape Town), Roger Sikhakane and Manqoba Mngqithi (both Chippa United), Muhsin Ertugral (Golden Arrows), Augusto Palacios (Pirates) and Roger Palmgren (AmaZulu), who have been relieved of their duties this season. – Sapa


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