Cape Town - Arthur Zwane will be hoping his team can continue where they left off when they resume their Premiership season on Saturday.
Zwane and the Amakhosi faithful will fondly remember Yusuf Maart’s stunning match-winning goal against arch rivals Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium in the Soweto derby in October. The stats showed that Pirates dominated the game, but were unable to capitalise.
On Saturday, Chiefs will run out at Moses Mabhida Stadium against hosts Golden Arrows in their final league fixture for 2022 (3.30pm).
“We are coming back from a long recess. It is an unusual one at this time of the season, so it will be a case of adaptation and a change of mindset from our players,” said Zwane.
“We finished the first half of the season on a high, against a team (Pirates) that are currently on a high.
“We just want to continue where we left off in terms of the performance, with the hope that we still have the same rhythm. We are starting to get to know each other very well.
“The chemistry is also getting better, as is the approach of the players, which has also been key.
“We were building up good momentum and we now must start afresh. What is key right now is to try and grind out the results, in terms of getting to go back to how we played our last game. It’s not going to be easy.”
Chiefs have played quite a few practice matches over the last fortnight. Zwane is sure the outings will stand the team in good stead, though he knows the return to league action will be a different proposition.
“We played quite a few games behind closed doors, and we did quite well, that might have helped,” said Zwane.
“But it is only until you start playing official games, that’s when you see where you are, where you need to make changes and improve. Those games are practice matches because the atmosphere is not the same as at the stadiums.
“What will be important now is how the players will respond when the crowds are cheering them on. Sometimes when things are not going our way, they will be a little bit against us, which is something we understand.”
Zwane said the practice games came at a cost after a few firstchoice players picked up injuries. He will only know on Saturday which players will be side-lined.
The big news at Chiefs this week has been the transfer of midfielder Njabulo Blom to Major League Soccer side St Louis City. In the wake of Blom’s departure, Zwane feels to he will be forced to rethink the team’s composition.
“The departure of Blom at a crucial stage of the season means we will have to juggle around the team and get to our best XI to keep the momentum going,” he said.
“Golden Arrows are a difficult team to play against. They are very strong in their build-up and can vary their game and play long and short.
“They have very mobile players in their squad and have tactical flexibility in their final-third entry. They are very good in one-on-one situations, as well. They’re clinical.
“We are playing against a team who are very good going forward and who also have a very good defence. It’s going to be a mountain to climb for us, but we will be ready come Saturday.
“We also have our weapons, and our strong points and weaknesses as well, but we try and make sure our strong points cover our weaknesses. We just hope the players who are available right now will grab the opportunity given to them.
“I see no problem or worries at the moment. We have good players who will go out there and represent the team very well.”