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Late lapses cost Chiefs

PSL
JOHANNESBURG - It has long been argued that goals win you games, but clean sheets win you championships. Despite having the country’s No.1 goalkeeper in Itumeleng Khune as their firstchoice, Kaizer Chiefs have been leaking like a rusty bucket in the dying minutes of crucial Absa Premiership matches and have now officially missed out on the title for a second successive season under coach Steve Komphela.

But just why are Amakhosi suffering from such an incredible lapse of concentration? They again conceded a late goal at the weekend to draw 1-1 with Golden Arrows having taken the lead late into the match – young Ryan Moon’s strike looking likely to be the winner.

Until the sucker punch from the visitors to ensure a share of the spoils. Chiefs had dropped points in similar fashion away to SuperSport United a week earlier in a 2-2 stalemate as well as losing 3-2 to Cape Town City a few days prior.

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Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/Independent Media

That is just from their most recent games.

Two credible experts analysed the situation for us…

MATTHEW BOOTH

Former Bafana Bafana and Mamelodi Sundowns defender, says:

It is not necessarily the back four that is to blame. If you look at how Chiefs are set-up, compared to a Bidvest Wits or Sundowns for instance, (coach) Steve Komphela prefers Willard Katsande as the only defensive midfielder screening or protecting the back four. At Wits there is Granwald Scott, Ben Motshwari and Thabang Monare most of the time, at least two defensive midfielders.

At Sundowns you have Hlompho Kekana and Tiyani Mabunda, who can both attack and defend. At Chiefs there are more creative midfielders like George Maluleka on the pitch at the same time. Your defenders are hardly protected.

Then there is the Khune factor. I think he has almost singlehandedly kept them in the title race. Recently we were in studio and one of the statistics to pop up was that Chiefs have conceded the most from shots on goal, only second to Pirates.

That tells you a lot (Pirates are in 10th place and still struggling to break into the top eight this season). I also think (Mulomowandau) Mathoho has played a lot of football. I am a big fan of Siyanda Xulu, but it’s clear he is out of favour with Komphela.

He would have been the guy to come in for a bit of competition. Mathoho is also not a talker, so there could be communication disadvantages at the back. I also think Komphela hardly makes changes with enough energy to help with the level of concentration in the game to avoid conceding those late goals.

FAROUK KHAN

Ex-Chiefs, Sundowns assistant coach and owner of Stars of Africa academy, says:

It’s become a psychological issue now for Chiefs because it has happened so many times this season. So naturally, whether spoken or unspoken, the players are always anxious in the last few minutes.

But there are also a couple of reasons why Chiefs concede so late, and one of them is the lack of pressing. If you look at how the goal against Arrows came about, there were nine Chiefs players in the box just waiting.

No one pressed when Arrows had the ball and there was a cross and a goal. Chiefs also defend in a straight line instead of blocks or zonal marking, to pick the spaces but make sure you are still pressing.

You would have seen that balls come flying into the box and the opponents take advantage. It’s like someone coming to burn your house and you retreat back inside instead of going out to do something about it.

The pressing game is a collective effort, but Chiefs are using the wrong way of defending. And then there’s Khune. He has come to their rescue on several occasions and when he does and they win, people forget that it was a close shave.

Take the 2-1 win against Sundowns. They got the winning goal after a Sundowns defender put the ball in his own net, but in the few minutes after that, Khune made two match-winning saves. But people forgot that it is a game they could have drawn or lost if he was not in goal on the day.”

@superjourno

The Star

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