JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs defender Daniel Cardoso believes their clean sheet against Tornando FC in the Nedbank Cup will serve as a huge boost when they host high-scoring Cape Town City in an Absa Premiership clash at FNB Stadium today (7.30pm).
City’s visit will be about vengeance and keeping the momentum from their last two matches going.
In the first round, Chiefs recorded a 4-1 victory over the Citizens in Cape Town. But a lot has happened since then as Amakhosi changed coaches, while some of their players have had a dip in form up front.
On the other hand, the Capetonians recently hammered Free State Stars 5-0 in the league, while that was followed by a 2-0 victory over SuperSport United in the Cup.
“It was very important for us to keep a clean sheet, especially as the defenders and the goalkeeping department,” Cardoso said. “At the back, we’ve got the experienced Zimbabwean international Teenage Hadebe, there’s Kgotso Moleko who’s coming in well, and there’s myself.”
Chiefs' lack of goals has Cardoso worried. Amakhosi suffered a 2-1 loss to Zesco United in the return leg of the Caf Confederation Cup, and needed an own goal in extra time from minnows Tornado FC to book their spot in the Nedbank Cup last 16.
“It’s going to be a tough game for us against City,” he said. “We had a tough game against Tornado FC even though they are in the third tier, while Cape Town City managed to beat SuperSport 2-0 in 90 minutes in their Cup game.”
Chiefs fans have blamed their defensive frailties on the absence of goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, who’s out on a long-term injury. Virgil Vries, Khune’s deputy, has also done little to remedy those talks after conceding nine goals in the last six matches.
Cardoso believes he could have also done better defensively, especially in the beginning of the campaign. Last season, under coach Steve Komphela, Amakhosi had the second best defensive record in the league. That was achieved by consistent performances from players such as Cardoso.
“I didn’t start well as I hit a slump at the beginning of the season, but I am slowly getting back to my former self,” he said.
The reign of new coach Ernst Middendorp has been pleasing to those who are passionate about football development. The German tactician has given development graduates Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya and Happy Mashiane a rare taste of action in the first team.
The duo will likely complement each other in the left wing-back role as Ntiya-Ntiya’s suspension on Sunday gave Mashiane his big break.
“I think I am at my peak, and all I want to do is to help the youngsters in our team,” Cardoso said about some of his added responsibilities.
“I am one of the veterans in the team, so it’s important that we try to help the upcoming players.”@Mihlalibaleka