JOHANNESBURG – Teenage Hadebe had a lump in his throat when he described the sombre atmosphere that has engulfed Kaizer Chiefs since they occupied seventh spot on the PSL standings this season.
It’s been an inconsistent run of form from Amakhosi as they’ve managed to successfully reach the Nedbank Cup final, while their league campaign has been suffering.
Collecting maximum points from their two matches before the curtain comes down on their league campaign, Chiefs can only finish fifth on the log.
However, that’s easier said than done considering that they have onlly bagged three points from the last 15 - leaving their quest to challenge for the top eight also in jeopardy.
“It’s difficult to talk about this. It’s sad and it’s painful. We’ve been beaten and we’ve struggled, and it’s been three months sitting on position seven for a team like Kaizer Chiefs,” Hadebe said.
“As players we have the pressure, but we are used to it. But we should just remove ourselves from that position.”
In their last five matches where Chiefs failed to collect a single win, they were tipped as favourites in three matches as they faced relegation-threatened duo Baroka FC and Black Leopards, before facing financially challenged Bloemfontein Celtic. However, they could only collect a point against Leopards and lost to Baroka and Celtic respectively.
This has resulted in coach Ernst Middendorp insisting that his players, “do not impose the same winning mentality against certain teams” in the league.
With another relegation-threatened candidate, Free State Stars, next up for Chiefs in the league - at Mbombela Stadium at 3pm tomorrow - Amakhosi’s aspirations to finish in the top eight might suffer a huge dent if they don’t improve their current record against so-called “small teams”.
“It’s not that we are not giving our best (against the teams at the bottom), we’d be trying but football is a funny game.
“There’s no small team in modern football, and when those teams are playing against a big team like Kaizer Chiefs, they come with a positive energy,” Hadebe said. “We’d also be trying (to catch-up) but it would be too late to score goals. And when they score first, it would be difficult to get an equaliser because they’d have locked at the back.”
With Zimbabwe having booked a spot at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, Hadebe will be hoping to board a flight to Cairo having already won a winner’s medal. Chiefs will square off with TS Galaxy in the Nedbank Cup final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on May 18. Amakhosi will head to the Cup final hoping to revive the club’s prestigious tag of being “Cup Kings of South African Football” having endured a three-year barren run.
Hadebe, on the other hand, is eyeing his first domestic silverware with the club since joining last season.
“We have to go and win the game. We owe the Cup to our supporters. But for now, we are focusing on the league.
“We must win the next two games. And (then) try to do our best in the Nedbank because it would be my first trophy at Chiefs,” Hadebe said@Mihlalibaleka