Itumeleng Khune’s initial remarks about Kaizer Chiefs as PSL title contenders were laced with caution. But when reminded that the expectation for Amakhosi to be fighting for major trophies comes with tradition, the skipper had no option but to tweak his statements and be a little bold.

“This team can go as far as becoming champions, but it is still early days for us to start saying that,” goalkeeper Khune said ahead of their league clash with AmaZulu at FNB Stadium tonight.

“No, I am aware of that (expectations). All I am saying is that we did not have a coach when we were preparing for the season and he (Giovanni Solinas) came in and it took us time to adjust to his philosophy. But now things are starting to gel and we will definitely bounce back in our next matches.”

Chiefs endured a horror start to the campaign, and it wasn’t until last weekend  away to Cape Town City  that Solinas managed his first league win, an emphatic 4-1 victory. The Italian coach had in fact been carrying an unwanted record of just a single win in eight matches from all competitions until his men ran riot in the Mother City.

“I believe the records were saying this is the worst start for a Chiefs team,” Khune said.

“It’s not any players’ wish to start off a season like this. But we managed to bounce back and get our confidence against City. We showed again away to Free State Stars (2-0) what we are capable of. The reason we didn’t start well was because it took us time to adjust to the coach’s methods because he missed out on pre-season preparations.”

Chiefs were three points behind log leaders Bidvest Wits, who faced Polokwane City last night. Regardless of the result, they are still chasing.

“We have a more than capable squad that can do that,” Khune said as he relived the disappointment of the past three years, in which Amakhosi failed to win any trophies under coach Steve Komphela.

“We are disappointed that we were knocked out of the MTN8, but we have seen where we lack and we are a team which is tired of being called names. We know what we deserve and where we should be.”

Solinas will again make changes against AmaZulu to restore those who were rested back into the line-up. He left out seven players from the City win when Chiefs travelled to Goble Park in Bethlehem, but didn’t appear to have compromised his side’s effectiveness.


Independent on Saturday 

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