Kaizer Chiefs are looking to win three on the trot
CAPE TOWN - Kaizer Chiefs have found their mojo at a time when they were dangerously close to the drop zone and relegation fears loomed large.
A week ago, Chiefs were one point away from the dreaded drop zone and their first-choice striker Khama Billiat was laid low by injury which will keep him on the sidelines for the next two months. It was a crippling blow since Billiat, a matchwinner in his own right, was showing signs of regaining form even though it was restricted to assists.
Chiefs have been experiencing their worst ever start to a season in the Premiership. Coach Gavin Hunt's best-laid plans were blown apart by fixture congestion, acute shortage of playing staff compounded by the Fifa ‘player signing' ban, numerous injuries, and loss of form by key players.
Now after back-to-back wins in the space of four days, there are signs that Chiefs are strongly fancied to make it three on the trot when they host beleaguered Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) in a DStv Premiership clash today at FNB Stadium (kick-off 5pm).
Latest reports say that TTM, who have won only one in 11 league outings in their debut PSL season, are allegedly battling to contain player dissent because of unpaid salaries.
Hunt has every reason to be optimistic for several reasons ahead of today's match. His firstchoice goalkeeper of late, Nigerian Daniel Akpeyi, is proving ever-reliable between the sticks. He has been inspirational, and has done well to see his side over the finish line in recent matches despite the pressure exerted by the opposition late in matches.
There is also the matter of Ramahlwe Mphahlele moving from rightback to central defence. The switch has brought the best out of Mphahlele who last Saturday produced a Man of the Match performance against Cape Town City.
Chiefs' defence is developing into a formidable unit which has underpinned the performances of
the rare back-to-back wins in the space of four days.
Chiefs' utility player Kenyan Akumu Agay has praised Mphahlele's role in recent games and his influence on the team.
“Playing with Rama (Mphahlele) and the other guys have been good,” said Agay. “Someone like Rama makes it easier because he communicates with me all the time and he is experienced.
“Winning two games in a row is a morale booster. We can continue from where we left off for the next game against TTM.”
Chiefs striker Samir Nurkovic is going from strength-to-strength since his comeback. His presence provides the team with a massive boost. He is still short of match fitness, but it is just a matter of time before he becomes the Premiership's ultimate goalmouth predator again.
“Like I said millions of times, my job is to be upfront and to score goals,” said the Serbian-born Nurkovic. “Thank God I scored that goal in my first game after a long time, and the feeling was unbelievable. I was happy I could contribute to the victory.”