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No room for error for Kaizer Chiefs against Chippa United

Erick Mathoho of Kaizer Chiefs celebrates a goal during the DStv Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs on the 5 March 2022 at Orlando Stadium, Soweto. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Erick Mathoho of Kaizer Chiefs celebrates a goal during the DStv Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs on the 5 March 2022 at Orlando Stadium, Soweto. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Published Mar 30, 2022

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Johannesburg - Being the most followed club in local football must have suddenly become a double-edged sword for Kaizer Chiefs. The recent absence of their 12th man, who had been the fuel that drives them on in time of need, has cost the club dearly.

But after a two-year spell that was filled with mixed fortunes, including losing out on the title on the last day of the term and finishing as the CAF Champions League finalist for the very first time, they can look forward to having their fans back.

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On Tuesday, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) announced that they’ll conform to the new regulations of opening the stadiums to their 50% capacity, starting with the Nedbank Cup last eight next week. Covid-19 regulations had barred the supporters from live football for two years.

But before Amakhosi can reopen the doors to their faithful, they’ll face Chippa United away from home on Saturday. This is a game that they need to win if they are going to have any chance of finishing in the top two on the log.

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Chiefs started the year well, amassing seven points out of nine before the chances of playing the matches they forfeited went up in their air as the PSL wants to review the arbitrator’s award.

But Chiefs cannot afford to sulk around and moan. They have to do what they can to control and win matches. The senior players, such as Bernard Parker and Eric Mathoho, have got some stick for their lacklustre performances this campaign.

Amakhosi need to be tight in defence, while still ensuring that they flourish upfront after only scoring four times in the last five games.

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However, one of the teams that haven’t heard problems with scoring goals is Royal AM. Thwihli Thwahla are second on the log after an overwhelming breakthrough campaign following their purchase of the status of Bloemfontein Celtic.

The rookies' journey has been inspired by coach John Maduka and a host of experienced campaigners, including multiple championship winning winger Elias Pelembe. But they’ll be away to the relegation-threatened TS Galaxy on Saturday.

Both teams have ball players who can make anything happen for them at any given moment. Royal AM, especially, have dubbed themselves as 'sucker punchers', having left most of their wins or come-backs late in the league thus far.

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But perhaps one of the matches to look forward to this weekend will be the six-pointer between Maritzburg United and Swallows. Maritzburg are sitting on position 12 on the log with 22 points, four ahead of the 14th-place occupants Swallows.

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The Team of Choice are yet to lose this year in the league after bagging eight points out of 12.

That might be propelled by the meeting the management had with coach Ernst Middendorp amid the poor run of form in the first half of the campaign.

Swallows have struggled in their second season since returning to the top-flight. But in coach Dylan Kerr, they’ll believe that they can avoid the drop. But they'll need their senior players, such as Lebohang Mokoena, to lead from the front.

In the meantime, Cape Town City, Stellenbosch and SuperSport United will be eager to keep their hunt for a top five finish alive when they face Baroka, Sekhukhune United and Golden Arrows. They are fifth, sixth and seventh on the log.

@Mihlalibaleka

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