Johannesburg – If the past 11 days are anything to go by, Platinum Stars will be in for a rough ride when they welcome Kaizer Chiefs to Rustenburg for a Premiership clash on Wednesday night.
It would be the third meeting between the two sides in under two weeks and Stars would have been happy to play against anyone but Amakhosi.
A dominant Glamour Boys outfit head into the game with a comprehensive 5-0 aggregate from their two recent MTN8 semi-final meetings over the defending champions of the tournament.
“First and foremost, the cup game is finished now and we’re out of that,” Stars coach Alan Freese said ahead of Wednesday’s hat-trick meeting with Chiefs.
“The time now to change the mind-set so quickly is difficult.”
Three goals from George Maluleka, as well as one each for Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Katlego Mphela, sealed an emphatic semi-final victory for Stuart Baxter’s troops, who now shift their focus to the Premiership.
“For me, it’s not difficult if the players have got a professional attitude because every game is a new game, it’s a new challenge,” Baxter said.
“We know that Platinum Stars is a good team. We know that unless we put in a shift and a performance, they can very easily roll us over.
“That's the way it is so the players must make sure they’re up for it, and make sure, whoever is selected, we give a performance.”
The Briton, however, will be wary of a wounded Dikwena outfit. Last season, Chiefs beat Stars at home in the league but were then beaten twice, in succession, by a determined Stars outfit who have a knack of making life difficult on home soil.
In fact, in their last seven meetings, the two sides shared an identical record with three wins apiece and a draw.
Freese was eager to remind his troops of their previous successes against the Soweto giants and pointed out that, in the league, a draw was something worth playing for.
“We’ve got to sit and think properly about that. We conceded 1/8on Sunday 3/8 so let’s try another approach,” he said.
“The league game is different now, you can get a different result.”
Quizzed on Stars’ chances at home, Baxter felt the hosts could have the upper hand.
“He’s (Freese) only got to wind them up a little and say, ‘hey, they’re coming to our place now, let’s give them a smacking',” Baxter said.
“The main difficulty we have is that when the games are so tight, it’s the recuperation and whatever went wrong 1/8in the previous game 3/8, and an opportunity to put it right.
“As for the motivational thing, I’m sure both of us will have no problem getting the players up for it. It’s probably the tactical changes that you don’t really have time to do.”
Chiefs will be looking to put further distance between themselves and defending league champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who welcome Orlando Pirates to Loftus Versfeld in the season’s biggest encounter to date.
Meanwhile, SuperSport United host Mpumalanga Black Aces in Polokwane, while in Pretoria, the University of Pretoria entertain Free State Stars.
Bloemfontein Celtic travel to Durban, where AmaZulu will want to get their season up-and-running with maximum points. – Sapa