In the absence of their 12th man, the team's supporter base, Kaizer Chiefs will have a chance to stay focused in their DStv Premiership match against lowly Cape Town Spurs on Wednesday evening at the FNB Stadium, Joburg.
The PSL disciplinary committee (DC) decided to play this match behind closed doors after Chiefs were found guilty of repeated fan misbehaviour, including throwing projectiles at the technical staff in three separate incidents this season.
The big plus of this closed-doors match is that Chiefs interim coach Cavin Johnson and his technical support team will not run the risk of being pelted with missiles if Chiefs end up losing the match. Chiefs have already spent hundreds of thousands of rands in fines,
The players also won’t be subjected to jeering and booing if things go wrong for Chiefs on the field of play.
In a statement on Monday, Chiefs said (in part): 'The match will be played behind closed doors after AmaKhosi were sanctioned by the PSL for fan violence in the Carling Black Label first-round match last month.
'Wednesday night’s game (against Spurs) will take many Chiefs players, who are used to playing in front of thousands of people, back to the ‘Bubble football’ days where they found themselves playing without supporters in the stadium as only players, officials and key staff will be permitted in the stadium.
'Even though there will be no supporters in the stadium, Chiefs players will be inspired by knowing that thousands of disciplined fans who could have attended the match, will be at home supporting them.
'No tickets will be sold for the match. However, supporters are urged to support the Boys remotely by watching it on television, listening to the commentary on the radio or following the Club’s social media platforms for updates.’
In Japan, the term 'remote match' was coined during the COVID-19 pandemic after fans were not allowed into stadiums and were forced to follow their teams on TV.
Spurs also stand to benefit from the situation and their team will welcome the absence of the opposition's 12th man. Chiefs won't be able to draw inspiration from the cheers from the stands and Spurs will be delighted that their opponents will not be enjoying the usual benefits of a home match.
All around the football world, there has long been a belief that when matches are played behind closed doors, referees tend to favour the home team less in their decision-making.
Chiefs have announced that midfielder Sibongiseni ‘Ox’ Mthethwa is suspended for the match, having picked up four cautions over the season. He arrived as a defender from Stellenbosch a few weeks ago but has been used with a fair degree of success in the midfield.
He has been impressive and has drawn comparisons with the former Chelsea midfielder and French international N’Golo Kante.
After a 10-day break, Chiefs will be keen to move up the Premiership standings. They are in an unfamiliar 10th position after 10 matches, with 11 points in the kitty.
Spurs' Urban Warriors are rooted to the bottom of the log at No 16 with three points after nine matches. Last week they broke their Premiership duck with a 2-1 win over Orlando Pirates in Cape Town.