JOHANNESBURG - Ramahlwe Mphahlele spoke about Kaizer Chiefs’ tricky position in the Absa Premiership race with positive energy even though Amakhosi have to rely on four teams dropping points for them to be crowned champions.
Chiefs sit in fifth place with seven matches to go, eight points behind log-leaders Mamelodi Sundowns. The Glamour Boys are in this position because they dropped five points in their last two games - drawing against struggling Bloemfontein Celtic at FNB Stadium and losing to their arch-rivals Orlando Pirates at the same venue.
Amakhosi return to the iconic venue that hosted the 2010 Fifa World Cup to face AmaZulu on Saturday, with their fate in the league not completely in their hands.
“That’s the big problem because you can only control your games,” Mphahlele said on Thursday in Naturena at the Chiefs’ Village. “You can’t control other games. You can only sit at home and hope that they lose. We just have to focus on what we can control. That’s the most important thing.
"Whatever happens, happens. If we finish second, that’s a Champions League spot and third means we would be playing in the Confederation Cup. That’s also good for the team. There is always something worth playing for, whether you are chasing or on top.”
What makes Chiefs’ position trickier is that they have lacked aggression, a key component for any team chasing the championship. They failed to penetrate Celtic with a timid attack in their last home game even though a win would have seen them cut Sundowns’ lead to just three points at the time.
The Brazilians then went on to stretch their lead at the summit while Chiefs have gone from third position to fifth - trailing Sundowns, Pirates, Maritzburg United and Free State Stars.
“At this stage of the season there is a lot of pressure,” Mphahlele said. “You need players who can handle the pressure. We have put ourselves in a situation where people say that we can fight for the league. We also see that and the pressure starts to creep in.
"That’s where we need to come together as a team and say that can we focus on what’s on the plate, try and achieve it. We are chasing and we just have to do the chasing. If the teams on top win, they win. We can’t do anything about it. At the moment we are just chasing.”
While Mphahlele admits that chasing is hard, he argues leading is even harder - having captained the Sundowns’ team that consistently sat at the summit to win the league with a record 71 points in the 2015/16 season.