Chiefs’ struggles continue ahead of derby week

KWANDA Mngonyama of Moroka Swallows challenged by Edson Castillo of Kaizer Chiefs during the DStv Premiership match. | BackpagePix

KWANDA Mngonyama of Moroka Swallows challenged by Edson Castillo of Kaizer Chiefs during the DStv Premiership match. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 2, 2024


KAIZER Chiefs stuttered in their preparations for their sought-after clash against arch-rivals Orlando Pirates on Saturday after playing to a draw in the ‘rehearsal derby’ last night.

Chiefs were held to a stalemate by Moroka Swallows in the Soweto derby in a match that was halted for over an hour due to poor weather conditions.

The result didn’t help Chiefs as they failed to bounce back from their loss in the Nedbank Cup which extended their barren run to nine years.

And it could also prove to be catastrophic as they didn’t get a morale-booster ahead of their clash against arch-rivals Pirates, who had won earlier in the day.

Chiefs can’t afford to sulk and moan, though. They must win at all costs against Golden Arrows midweek to take positives to the derby on Saturday.

Swallows, meanwhile, will be happy with the result as they continue to try and gel as the team after sacking more than half of the squad in January.

Chiefs, despite their loss to minnows Milford in the Nedbank Cup, were still favourites to win against Swallows on paper, thanks to a five-game unbeaten run in the league.

Amakhosi duly stuck to the favourite’s tag in the first half, only on a possession basis, though, as they didn’t make their chances count. The match ended 0-0.

Chiefs were let down again by their bluntness, albeit being restructured as Keagan Dolly and Ranga Chivaviro made their first starts of the year.

Chivaviro, who had come off the bench to miss an extra-time penalty against Milford in the Nedbank Cup loss, nearly made up for lost time in the first half yesterday.

But after connecting well with Keagan Dolly’s cross in the air, he forced out a brilliant save from Daniel Akpeyi with a thumping header.

Akpeyi parried his effort towards Ashley du Preez, but just when the striker thought he had made up for his previous misses, he was ruled for an offside.

While Dolly might have created that cross, Happy Mashiane, on the left, was obsessed with crosses as if that was their only offensive approach.

Mashiane didn’t keep it to just crosses, though. He was rusty at times as he needlessly stomped Gabadinho Mhango for a yellow card.

The going got tougher for Chiefs early into the second half as they were reduced to 10 men after Edmilson Dove received a straight red card from referee Olani Kwinda after hacking and denying Mhango, who had beaten the offside trap, a clear scoring opportunity.

The match was suspended temporarily by Kwinda due to the rain, lighting and thunderstorm as the teams returned to the dressing room and fans ran for cover.

After a wait of more than an hour, which included a power outage, the game restarted as the poor weather conditions subsided and power was restored.

With their backs against the wall due to being a man down, Chiefs’ problems nearly mounted as Mashweu Mphahlele forced out a brilliant save from Bruce Bvuma.

Bvuma, again, stood between his team dropping all points, as he made another terrific save, this time blocking Letsie Koapeng with his feet.

Akpeyi, Bvuma’s opposite number, made a daring save later on as well, denying Nkosingiphile Ngcobo what would give Chiefs a morale-booster ahead of derby week.