Moleko: Chiefs are going all the way
In the midst of their adversity, when they finished ninth on the Premiership standings and lost the Nedbank Cup final to second tier side TS Galaxy last term, Chiefs felt the wrath of their supporters who wanted a squad overhaul and the sacking of coach Ernst Middedndorp.
But the Chiefs’ management hung on to the German coach, while making only four signings during the off season - bringing on board Kearyn Baccus, Samir Nurkovic, Lazarous Kambole and James Kotei, who’s since left the club - while releasing a number of fringe players.
New season, a chance for new beginnings. The newly reformed side saw their work during the pre-season yield results in the first half of the season, where their blemishes in the league were only one loss and two draws.
Subsequently, that impressive rich vein of form also saw the team bag the quarterly innovation crowns twice, while Middendorp walked away with three successive Coach of the Month awards.
In the final stretch of the season, though, Chiefs have had nervy outings - winning two matches, losing one and drawing one in the last four league matches.
But their recent win over arch-nemesis and title hopefuls Orlando Pirates have revived the championship dream that was starting to turn into a nightmare for Amakhosi.
Reflecting on the season that has been, defender Kgotso Moleko said they knew from their pre-season preparations that they had what it took to be a championship winning team.
“I’ve been picking up things since the pre-season. The changing room is different now - training here is different. Everything is different here this season,” a composed Moleko said before his team’s training session on Thursday, ahead of their league clash against struggling AmaZulu at the FNB Stadium tonight (8.15pm).
While the majority of his teammates are hiding behind the line “we are taking it one game at a time”, when quizzed about their confidence of winning the Premiership, Moleko is an optimist, saying the league is for them to lose.
“Ja we are going all the way. From here, I don’t know about my teammates. But for me I have a confidence about us (winning the league) and I’m definitely sure about that,” said Moleko, who was part of the generation that won the league title five seasons ago.
“I think most of the guys now want it more. Some of them haven’t won it before. So, I think they have started realising that it’s good to win and the stakes are there. It’s all about how (desperately) you want it.”
Chiefs welcome Usuthu at the Calabash with a lot at stake for either side - three points for the home side will take them 10 points clear at the summit, while for the visitors that will be a huge morale boost in their bid to escape the dreaded relegation axe.
To say it will take courage and burning desire to win from AmaZulu to win the contest would be putting it mildly - especially considering that assistant coach Ayanda Dlamini and veteran goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs will be responsible for barking instructions on the touch-line.
The pair recently replaced the suspended Jozef Vukusic.
“We are not focusing on the fact that they won’t have their coach, although it is an advantage. But it will be 11 versus 11, so it will be important how we approach the game,” Moleko concluded.