JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs will be hoping to extend their lead at summit of the PSL log when they clash with arch-rivals Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Football writer Mihlali Baleka looks at what full points could mean for the Soweto giants.
Innovation triumph on the cards
With Chiefs top of the Premiership standings with 19 points after eight matches, a win against Sundowns could be a huge step towards winning Quarter One (Q1) of the season.
This feat will not only set them up for the Quarterly bragging rights, but they’ll be R1.5-million richer.
Coach Ernst Middendorp has emphasised that his team’s primary focus is to improve week-in and week-out, but he understands that a monetary incentive will go a long way in motivating his team to keep their eyes on the ball.
Set the tone for the rest of the year
With only two months before the curtain comes down on 2019, there’ll be no greater feeling for Chiefs than to march to the New Year still holding the fort at the summit of the Premiership standings.
Chiefs will also be looking at their tussle against the Brazilians as a curtain raiser for their Soweto Derby with Orlando Pirates. These are the kinds of matches that will test the mettle of Middendorp’s men, especially heading into the Christmas break.
Bring Pitso back down to earth
Fresh from defeating Highlands Park in their Premiership tussle on Wednesday, the Sundowns mentor went on about how they don’t need to defeat Chiefs nor Pirates to win the league for the third time in a row.
Mosimane has also voiced concerns about how Amakhosi has been benefiting from poor officiating.
Chiefs striker Samir Nurkovic’s name has been on the lips of the club’s fans since joining this season, scoring two goals in seven matches, while registering a single assist. His late equaliser against Cape Town City, last weekend, ensured that Chiefs kept their aspirations of ending the four-year trophy drought alive.
His counterpart Mauricio Affonso has grabbed the headlines in his last three appearances for the Brazilians, scoring on debut in the CAF Champions League, the Telkom Knockout and Premiership.
Expect both talismen to work their socks off on Sunday afternoon, especially in a match that could decide how the curtain comes down on the first half of the season.
Billiat back to haunt Sundowns
The first time Khama Billiat returned to the nation’s capital, he walked away with the Man of the Match award, a recognition that left Mosiamane in disbelief as he questioned, “what did he do?”.
But Billiat takes the journey up north having already tormented Sundowns’ defenders this season, albeit being in a nothing match, registering three assists and a goal as Chiefs defeated his former employers 4-2 in the Shell Helix Ultra Cup.