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Komphela banking on Katsvairo

Steve Komphela is looking for a new talisman and striker Michelle Katsvairo, who has earned praise from the Kaizer Chiefs coach when he’s come off the bench so far this season, appears the most likely candidate.

Katsvairo was signed from Zimbabwe’s Chicken Inn before the start of the 2016/17 campaign to add to Amakhosi’s blunt attack, but is yet to make a full debut.

Striker Michelle Katsvairo has earned praise from Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela. Photo by: Sydney Mahlangu. Credit: BackpagePix

It’s no secret that Chiefs are struggling at the moment and had to rely on a George Lebese penalty on Wednesday night to beat Highlands Park 1-0 at Makhulong Stadium, Tembisa, to end a three-match winless streak.

It was also the Glamour Boys’ first win in the current Absa Premiership campaign. Katsvairo replaced the ineffective Edward Manqele just before the hour mark and Komphela felt, given more time, the striker can be influential in a Chiefs team that has not yet found its rhythm this season.

“He has sent me a message twice,” said Komphela, referring to the player’s two cameos in the midweek game and seven days earlier in the 1-1 draw against Platinum Stars.

“He is giving me something to think about, which says Steve next time are you maybe thinking of starting with me? It is a decision we will have to go back and take, but he has done very well on two occasions.”

Chiefs host Maritzburg United tomorrow evening in a fixture that produced a five-goal thriller at the same venue when the two sides last met, Amakhosi winning 3-2.

Should Katsvairo start, the odds are in his favour to open his Amakhosi account, especially seeing that Manqele has not offered much firepower, despite Komphela pulling him off the transfer list and putting him back into his plans for the current campaign. Another new recuit, Lewis Macha, was expected to lead the line for Chiefs but is still out injured.

When the coach spoke of Katsvairo’s quality, it was not difficult to conclude that Komphela believes he has a player with the ability to perhaps solve the club's goal-scoring conundrum.

“I look at his physical attributes which is speed, technique, how he can handle the ball and the fact that he can play with his back to defenders,” Komphela explained. “He can turn and finish. He is more of a complete striker that needs to be unleashed. And he can only go on and fulfil his potential if he gets his confidence. He is really going to help us this season.”

Chiefs fans will be relieved somewhat with the narrow victory away to Highlands Park and even more so to hear Komphela suggest he may have found a goal scorer in Katsvairo, who was not a marquee signing as such for the club when he was unveiled before the start of the season because very few people knew about him.

Fans - a handful though - would have remembered him from Chicken Inn’s Caf Champions League clash against Mamelodi Sundowns earlier in the year, where he scored the only goal in the first leg in Bulawayo from an extremely tight angle. It is that kind of form that Komphela will be desperate to see from the Zimbabwean, perhaps starting against the Team of Choice tomorrow evening.

Follow Mazola Molefe on [email protected]

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