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PSL title is Chiefs to lose

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iol spt mar11 Chiefs

Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

With two months remaining to the close of the PSL season, defending champions Kaizer Chiefs are still the team to catch. Photo by: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

With two months remaining to the close of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) season, defending champions Kaizer Chiefs are still the team to catch.

Amakhosi top the standings with 43 points from 19 games, followed by Mamelodi Sundowns (37 points), Wits (37), SuperSport United (32) and Orlando Pirates (30).

As things stand, it will be difficult to reel in the popular Soweto club, with even the coaches of chasing teams admitting as much.

Wits have had a magnificent run of late and now sit in third position on the table, but their coach, Gavin Hunt, who has won the PSL title on three occasions with SuperSport, believes it will take “huge meltdown” from Chiefs for his team to have any chance of winning the championship.

SuperSport’s current coach Cavin Johnson agrees: “Chiefs are on a good run and everything is working well for them.

“Their coach (Stuart Baxter) has changed things, and has got his team playing differently to last season when they won the league.

“It makes life difficult because they are not that predictable. We will keep pushing as hard as we can and hope Chiefs slip up … if that happens, we may be able to close in and keep the pressure on them.”

This week’s fixtures are, therefore, crucial for the leading contenders.

Chiefs have two tough fixtures – a tricky away encounter against Platinum Stars tomorrow and, then, the Soweto derby against arch-rivals Orlando Pirates on Saturday.

Second-placed Sundowns have a date with Boebie Solomons-coached Polokwane City on Saturday, where there will be a whiff of revenge in the air.

The last time they met, unheralded Polokwane beat the expensively-assembled Pretoria club 1-0.

Pirates come off a disappointing 1-0 defeat to University of Pretoria – but new coach Vladimir Vermezovic officially steps into the hot seat this week.

Good news for the Serbian coach, however, is that a number of key defenders are returning to the squad after lengthy injuries, including Rooi Mahamutsa, Siyabonga Sangweni and Patrick Phungwayo.

But, while the other clubs are battling to challenge Chiefs in the race for the league title, Baxter and his men are aware that they are in the running for the much sought-after treble – league, cup and Champions League.

They are top of the PSL log, in the last 16 of the Nedbank Cup – where they face Second Division FC Buffalo next week – and over the weekend they won through to the second round of the African Champions League.

“Ask a big club anywhere in the world about their ambition and the answer will be the same,” Baxter was quoted as saying on his club’s website. “We are an ambitious club. Like other big clubs, we go into each tournament to win.”

P W D L F A Pts

Chiefs 19 13 4 2 31 12 43

Sundowns 20 11 4 5 35 21 37

Wits 19 11 4 4 26 14 37

SuperSport 20 9 5 6 28 22 32

Pirates 18 9 3 6 21 14 30

Platinum 19 7 7 5 20 19 28

AmaZulu 22 7 7 8 20 29 28

Celtic 20 6 9 5 26 25 27

Ajax CT 21 7 6 8 21 23 27

Amatuks 21 8 2 11 20 21 26

Swallows 19 6 6 7 23 23 24

Black Aces 19 6 6 7 17 21 24

Maritzburg 19 5 5 9 19 25 20

Polokwane 20 5 4 11 22 29 19

FS Stars 19 4 5 10 15 27 17

Arrows 19 4 1 14 16 35 13 - The Star


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