JOHANNESBURG - Kaizer Chiefs have set an ambitious target considering their recent Absa Premiership form guide: the Glamour Boys want “nine festive points” before the Christmas recess.
And it starts with their away clash to plucky Chippa United on Wednesday night. Chiefs, a side that has managed to win just one of their last five league matches, have set their sights on Chippa at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium - a win there pushing them closer to the top of the table.
But coach Steve Komphela’s men have not enjoyed the best run of form, which was sandwiched in between their Telkom Knockout disappointment after they were eliminated in the semifinals of the competition by eventual winners Bidvest Wits.
The club has targeted maximum points in their final three Premier League fixtures for the calendar year.
Soon after visiting Chippa, Amakhosi will be on the road again to face struggling Platinum Stars before they host Ajax Cape Town at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban to close out the year.
But they are sure to find it tough in Port Elizabeth if their cup tie against Chippa at the same venue last month is evidence. Komphela’s men clinched the game with a narrow win thanks to a Bernard Parker penalty.
The hosts will want to show that result a month ago was a lucky escape for Chiefs as they, too, will be eager to move up the table and became surprise title challengers. The inconsistency in the Premier League this season has meant that the gap at both ends of the table isn’t much - log leaders Baroka FC were only nine points ahead of bottom side Wits before Tuesday night's round of fixtures.
Chiefs and Chippa are tied on 16 points from 12 games, with Komphela’s men above them in sixth place because of a superior goal difference.
But it is coach Teboho Moloi’s Chippa who will go into this clash under less pressure. Not only has the former Orlando Pirates midfielder been such a refreshing addition to the elite division’s coaching scene, Moloi has managed to avoid defeat in all nine league matches he has been in charge of since taking over from Dan Malesela.
It’s slightly disappointing, however, that only two wins were registered in the nine games. Chiefs will be a huge scalp, and Chippa could be favourites considering they smashed Amakhosi 3-1 exactly a year ago at the same venue.
Chiefs were boosted last week by the return from injury of defenders Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Kgotso Moleko, although Komphela is unlikely to risk rushing them back for tonight’s fixture.
Meanwhile, Tim Sukazi has confirmed interest from Cape Town City in the services of Kaizer Chiefs goal-minder Brilliant Khuzwayo.
Khuzwayo’s current contract with Amakhosi will expire in June. He has been linked with Cape Town City and Orlando Pirates.
A couple of weeks ago Sukazi did confirm that they were planning to open talks with Chiefs as the club wanted to secure the future of Khuzwayo before the end of December.
Chiefs want to avoid a situation where Khuzwayo can sign a pre-contract with a team of his choice in January. Sukazi refuted the speculation linking Khuzwayo with Pirates.
“Yes it is true that Cape Town City have shown interest in the services of Khuzwayo. They phoned me two months ago but I told them that I can only be able to talk to them in January. Right now Khuzwayo is contracted to Chiefs and they have the first option. We will continue with the talks with Chiefs after league matches in December,” Sukazi explained.
Khuzwayo has been playing second fiddle to Itumeleng Khune during his tenure with Amakhosi. Khune is on red hot form for Amakhosi this season and has kept six clean sheets.
“As I said, Chiefs want to secure Khuzwayo’s future before the end of December and it is still the case,” Sukazi stated.