JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs are not one-dimensional in case the frequency at which they score from set-pieces gave anybody out there any ideas, says midfielder and influential playmaker Siphiwe Tshabalala.
Amakhosi again had to rely on a routine delivery from ‘Shabba’ himself to find defender Teenage Hadebe deep into referee’s optional time to beat Free State Stars 1-0 in an Absa Premiership clash on Wednesday night at Goble Park.
Several days earlier in the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup against Baroka FC in Port Elizabeth, Tshabalala had been at it again with a timely distribution from a corner-kick to pick out centreback Erick Mathoho for the only goal of the game.
It’s been a familiar sight this season, even when striker Ryan Moon couldn’t stop scoring.
“It will look like we are struggling to get results and our wins are not convincing because of our current situation (not a single trophy at Chiefs in almost three years), but the most important thing for me is not a good game in terms of playing well. It’s about getting the results,” argued Tshabalala who probably has to do it all over again tomorrow afternoon when Amakhosi host Chippa United at the FNB Stadium in yet another fight to keep up with leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
“If the goals are not coming from open play we have to resort to a set play and we must make sure that when it comes to set plays, we are deadly. You know, we do create chances in open play and we don’t convert them. So we must be deadly on set plays - whenever we get one we must make sure that we at least convert one.”
Tshabalala correctly points out that getting most of their goals from free-kicks isn’t a new phenomenon as they used the very same style under Stuart Baxter when they won the league title twice in three years during the Scotsman’s tenure between 2012 and 2015.
But they were usually leaders of the pack then and the 1-0 scoreline was dubbed the mark of a team determined and hungry to win the title - grinding out results if you like.
“I think there were times during the 2014-15 season when we were winning 1-0 or 2-1 and we managed to win the league. This is the final hurdle and it’s tough. There are teams fighting to be in the top three and others are fighting for league honours, others the top eight as well as to avoid relegation - so it’s tough,” said Tshabalala.
“We will take any win. I don’t think there is any particular reason why the strikers aren’t scoring. It happens to everyone. You have a good run and then all of a sudden the goals are not coming. But I think the guys are doing well and they at least contribute in each and every game even though they are not scoring. They have the goal scoring chances, it’s just that they don’t convert. Hopefully it will come now in the last remaining games.”