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Kaizer Chiefs' Njabulo Ngcobo: Watch this space!

Kaizer Chiefs’ Njabulo Ngcobo

FILE - Kaizer Chiefs’ Njabulo Ngcobo. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Apr 1, 2022

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Cape Town — Now that the DStv Premiership has resumed, Kaizer Chiefs' rethreaded holding midfielder Njabulo Ngcobo, says the team is mentally and physically prepared to claim "maximum points" in Port Elizabeth against Chippa United on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 5pm).

The just-ended FIFA international break has allowed erratic Chiefs to reset their headspace and Ngcobo said the team has set its sights on the lucrative No 2 slot on the Premiership standings.

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Ngcobo, who arrived at Chiefs from Swallows as the 2020-21 Premier Soccer League's 'Defender of the Season' has been coming to grips with his new midfield role that coach Stuart Baxter has decided for him. He has accepted the challenge and feels he will grow into the role by continuing to work hard.

“I think we are mentally and physically ready because we know they (Chippa) will give us a hard time," said Ngcobo.

"They also need the three points, especially when you check where they are on the standings.

"As a team, we did well to prepare for this game. We are going to Port Elizabeth needing maximum points and whatever we are doing, will lead us to that.

"About the present log standings, I think we are doing okay. Hopefully, we will finish position two and I think it will be something good for the team.

“I think I am just a player who is working hard, especially learning a new position. I am doing OK for now, even though there is still room for improvement."

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Before the break, Chiefs were on an encouraging run but then fell to an early sucker punch against Golden Arrows and were not able to recover. Before that setback, Chiefs were on an unbeaten four-match streak.

Chippa are unbeaten in their last two games. It has helped to ease their relegation fears. If they drop points any time soon, they'll be headed for the relegation zone again.

Their coach Kurt Lentjies feels home ground advantage is an area that the team has failed to exploit. As a result, Chippa have not won any of their 10 home games this season.

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“I wouldn’t say not winning at home has been a worrying factor but it’s always the media who brings it up," said Lentjies.

“For me, the field is still the same. There are two goalposts, and there are four white lines, whether you are playing home or away.

“It is something that we obviously must fix because I think we have three more home games, and for now, we prefer to be away from home.

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“You know when you are playing Kaizer Chiefs you are playing away from home, whether you are playing home or away, it doesn’t matter.”

Earlier on Saturday, the spotlight will fall on Premiership upstarts Royal AM who have worked their way up the log with great effect and are in the second position.

They will be away to struggling TS Galaxy at the Mbombela Stadium (start 3pm).

The confidence in the Royal AM will be sky high after their coach John Maduka and striker Mxolisi Macuphu bagged the latest 'DStv Coach of the Month' and 'Player of the Month' awards.

Royal AM are unbeaten in their last five matches and picked up 11 points during that spell.

The other team in with a chance of breaking into the top three on the log is Cape Town City, who on Sunday are hosting Baroka FC, which are presently rock bottom.

City will go into the match on the back of two consecutive wins, and if they are victorious against Baroka, it will be the first time this season that they will have three wins in a row.

City used the international break well and ran out against Mother City rivals Stellenbosch in a training match earlier this week.

“The training intensity has been high," said coach Eric Tinkler. "We had a training game against Stellenbosch that was very good preparation for this game against Baroka.

“(midfielder) Mpho Makola comes back from suspension and that has made my selection job even more difficult. Unfortunately, Thato Mokeke is serving a suspension.

“We are waiting for goalkeeper Hugo Marques (Angola) and left-back Terrence Mashego (Bafana Bafana) to return from international duty, but the good news is that (goalkeeper) Darren Keet is now available for selection. That bodes well for the future."

“This is an important game for us, we want to try and win three games in a row, something that has not been done at the club in quite a while. It will not be an easy task, Baroka are fighting for their lives.”

@Herman_Gibbs

IOL Sport

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