Lebogang Manyama had a gut feeling about Kaizer Chiefs’ top eight fight
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JOHANNESBURG - Kaizer Chiefs hat-trick hero Lebogang Manyama admits he had a gut feeling that their top eight fate would be decided on the final day of the season when they clash with TS Galaxy at the Mbombela Stadium tomorrow (3pm kick-off).
After a turbulent outing in domestic football, Chiefs are on course to finish in the top eight. They are ninth on the standings with 33 points, three behind their next opponents Galaxy who occupy the eighth spot.
Chiefs' top eight aspirations looked dead and buried a fortnight ago after they lost to Black Leopards who were subsequently relegated. The shock result was followed by the dismissal of coach Gavin Hunt who was in charge of the team for the past nine months.
With their fate out of their hands – the teams above them, Galaxy, Baroka and Bloemfontein Celtic, were slightly in control – Chiefs needed to win their penultimate league match against Golden Arrows to keep alive their slim chances of finishing in the top eight.
And they did that with aplomb. Manyama scored a hat-trick as Amakhosi twice came from behind against Arrows after a strike from Michael Gumede and an own goal from Eric Mathoho. This win took them to ninth as Galaxy, Baroka and Celtic dropped points.
“To score a hat-trick at this historic club is a huge honour. People might take it smaller but it's not many players who do that. So, I am very honoured to be part of that and hopefully I can get more,” reflected Manyama after his three important goals on Wednesday.
“To do it at a club of Chiefs' magnitude is huge, and that's something that I'll live with forever. You'll always be counted among players who have scored hat-tricks here. Importantly, it was a hat-trick that gave the club an important win in terms of where we are going.”
The permutations are simple: Chiefs must beat Galaxy. Manyama, whose season has been below par despite being the team's top goal scorer (8), is optimistic.
“It's a very important game against TS Galaxy. We were almost out of it but sometimes you create your own luck. We were very lucky that Galaxy didn't get maximum points against Stellenbosch, and we had to face them on the last day of the season,” he said.
Chiefs were guided to their victory over Arrows by interim coaches Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard. Zwane has been at Chiefs for more than two decades after starting off as a player before being deployed to various positions at the club.
“I am so privileged to be part of this family. In the past, to be one of the players. And when I decided to quit, I became one of the assistant coaches for about a season before I was deployed to the development (team),” Zwane said.