As the euphoria of the festive season fades, midfielder George Maluleka is hopeful that sharing his birthday with Kaizer Chiefs will revive Amakhosi’s glory days.
Today, January 7, 31 years ago, the Maluleka household in Tembisa was blessed with a son, who they named George. On the same day 50 years ago, the most successful club in the South African domestic elite league, Chiefs, was formed by Kaizer “Chincha Guluva” Motaung.
Chiefs, though, are celebrating their milestone like no other, having given free entry to their supporters for the Premiership tie against Highlands Park at the FNB Stadium tomorrow (7.30pm kick-off).
Ernst Middendorp and his men are at the summit of the Premiership standings with 35 points, four ahead of defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who’ll host Bidvest Wits at Loftus Versfeld tonight.
“It’s my birthday and the club’s, who are celebrating their 50th, so it’s important that we keep going and collect as many points as we can, especially with what’s happening in the league,” Maluleka said.
“I think the target in the next five games is to get to 50 points. Then that could give us a chance to say that we are really title contenders.
“There are a few teams that are up there and we don’t want the lead to slip because it’s gone from 10 to four. But there’s no pressure on us.”
Having joined Chiefs during the 2014/15 season, it has been five and a half years of thrills and spills for Maluleka at the club.
In his first season it was joy all round for “Mido”, making an instant contribution by winning the league and MTN8 titles. But from then on, he has endured torrid times during a four-and-a-half-year trophy drought.
But that anomaly looks like it’s been addressed this season, despite recent set-backs - a draw and loss to Maritzburg United and SuperSport United respectively.
Maluleka, however, acknowledges that it’s too early to get carried away, but is well aware of how significant it would be to win the championship in the club’s 50th year.
“It would be very special (to win the league again). 2020 is a special year. We didn’t start off on a good note but the performance spoke for us,” he said.
“I am very confident with the team. It’s strong and very ambitious with the way that we are playing because there were games where we thought that we can’t get results but we ended up getting something from them.
“There are a lot of fighters (in the team) and I firmly believe that we can go all the way. But we are taking it one game at a time, so there’s no need to get excited and all that.”
Maluleka is in the last six months of his contract with Amakhosi, making him eligible to sign a pre-contract with another club during the ongoing transfer window that closes on January 31.
However, he’s made it clear that he’s fully committed to inspiring Chiefs back to the pinnacle of South African football.
“To be honest, I am not thinking about that (other options),” he said.