Johannesburg – Kaizer Chiefs captain Itumeleng Khune says his team will once again look to build their Premiership campaign around a solid foundation at home.
The Glamour Boys host Bloemfontein Celtic at FNB Stadium on Tuesday in their first home game of the 2014/15 season, having enjoyed a successful start to their league assignment.
“We are looking forward to the game against Celtic. It is our first league game at home,” Khune said ahead of the fixture in Soweto.
“We started the season well and we plan to keep the momentum. The mood in the camp is great and all the players are working hard and competing for places in the starting line-up.”
Amakhosi head into the game resembling somewhat of a runaway train and will fancy their chances that much more with the knowledge that they have the Soccer City crowd firmly in their corner.
Chiefs are unbeaten after four competitive games since the beginning of August, a run which started with a 4-0 thumping of Mpumalanga Black Aces in the MTN8.
Khune and his Chiefs outfit showed an early glimpse of their dominance at home in that result, rarely looking uncomfortable at the back, while up front the combination of Mandla Masango, Kingston Nkhatha and George Maluleka proved a fruitful trio for the three-time league champions.
“We wish to see the 1/8Chiefs' 3/8 supporters filling up the stadium and that will instil confidence in the team and will make the visitors uncomfortable,” Khune added.
The Soweto giants have lost just twice at home in the past two seasons, both defeats coming in the space of a week in April last season, a statistic enough to strike fear into the hearts of the rest of the Premiership hopefuls.
The Premier Soccer League’s decision to schedule a busier than usual first half to the league season, to relieve fixture congestion towards the end of the campaign, will have several of the country's top clubs in action up to three times a week, but Chiefs boss Stuart Baxter says he is confident the depth of his squad will see them through a couple of hectic opening weeks.
“The game against Celtic comes at a time when we are faced with a tight schedule early in the season,” Baxter said.
“We are currently playing back-to-back games in the league and cup. We will field a competitive side on Tuesday, especially that we will be playing in our own backyard.
“We would like to protect our territory. The players are competing for the starting line-up and that is good for the team. We have missed the services of 'Shabba', Bernard Parker and Matthew Rusike but the other lads have come in and plugged in the gaps superbly.”
Phunya Sele Sele coach Ernst Middendorp, meanwhile, was in a bullish mood ahead of Tuesday's encounter.
“We are challenging, we can win at home, we can win away. It doesn't matter which team we are playing as long as our players put the best in,” Middendorp said.
“We are capable of beating any team. We can play against all the best and we can beat anybody, it doesn't matter.”
In the night's only other game, Polokwane City host Ajax Cape Town at Peter Mokaba Stadium. – Sapa