JOHANNESBURG - Soccer writer Mazola Molefe has looked at Kaizer Chiefs and how they could fare in the Premiership this season.
Key player: Gustavo Paez
The Venezuelan begins his first full season with the Glamour Boys having raised hopes in his brief cameos last season as well as in pre-season. If Chiefs are to turn their fortunes around and finally win a trophy following two barren years, Paez has to be at his best.
Coach: Steve Komphela
Straight out of the frying pan and into the fire. That’s how to best describe Komphela’s third and potentially final season at Chiefs. Two trophyless seasons have kept him under pressure, which he says he is thriving in. The fans though no longer want to hear him declare that he is bullet proof, but rather crave to see Amakhosi end their trophy drought.
They have the best goalkeeper in the country and captain Itumeleng Khune will likely prove a key player to their success. Had it not been for the Bafana Bafana keeper's crucial saves last season, it is possible that Amakhosi would have finished even lower than fifth place.
Incredibly inconsistent, and there was evidence of that several times in Komphela’s first and second year with winning streaks abruptly coming to an end and Chiefs falling off the pace in the PSL race. The back four was also an Achilles heel as the club conceded late goals in critical phases of matches to drop points, especially in games when Khune was out injured.
Win a trophy and finish in the top three. The expectations are obviously higher, but anything above that would really be a bonus, considering how Chiefs have fared under Komphela.
A repeat of the previous two years would be catastrophic and would no doubt end any hopes of Komphela getting a new contract. Even if they reached all domestic Cup finals and missed winning the championship on the final day, another season without a trophy would be a nightmare.
Goalkeepers: Itumeleng Khune, Brilliant Khuzwayo and Bruce Bvuma. Defenders: Eric Mathoho, Lorenzo Gordinho, Teenage Hadebe, Tsepo Masilela, Sibusiso Khumalo, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Sibongiseni Ngcobo, Daniel Cardoso, Siyabonga Ngezana, Kgotso Moleko. Midfielders: Willard Katsande, George Maluleka, Wiseman Meyiwa, Hendrik Ekstein, Joseph Molangoane, Philani Zulu, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Edmore Chirambadare, Keagan Buchanan, William Twala, Bhongolwethu Jayiya. Strikers: Ryan Moon, Bernard Parker, Emmanuel Letlotlo, Dumisani Zuma, Gustavo Paez
Best position: Champions in 2004, 2005, 2013 and 2015
Worst position: Ninth in 2007