Mkhize plots Chiefs downfall in Cape Town

DUEL between Taahir Goedeman of Cape Town City and Kaizer Chiefs’ Ashley Du Preez at Athlone staduim. | Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)

DUEL between Taahir Goedeman of Cape Town City and Kaizer Chiefs’ Ashley Du Preez at Athlone staduim. | Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 30, 2024


CAPE Town City and Kaizer Chiefs are both teams with major ambitions.

Chiefs, of course, due to their legacy are expected to be among the frontrunners for both League and Cup success. City, meanwhile, are assumed to be the torch bearers of football in the Mother City.

But both sides have suffered drawbacks in recent years. Although City finished second and fourth over the past two seasons in the DStv Premiership they have now lost ground to neighbours Stellenbosch FC, who annexed the Carling Cup this season and remain in contention for the Nedbank Cup.

Equally, the shine on the Glamour Boys has dimmed significantly.

Their respective form in 2024 has not provided their faithful supporters with much joy either. The Citizens are winless in five matches across all competitions, while the Amakhosi have managed just one win in six games, which includes a recent 3-2 Soweto derby defeat to arch-rivals Orlando Pirates.

City have therefore dropped down to fifth place on the table with Chiefs even further adrift in seventh spot.

Both teams will, however, take solace from the fact that there is a bottleneck at the top of the table below runaway leaders Mamelodi Sundowns with only four points separating second from seventh place.

And that’s why today’s crunch DStv Premiership at Athlone Stadium (kick-off 3.30pm) clash holds great significance for both teams.

“We had a break in January, and since the turnaround, we haven’t done well and haven’t collected points,” said City captain Thamsanqa Mkhize.

“We need to collect points, and try to regain that form of the first half. We were doing well, sitting in a respectable position at No 2 and that gave us the confidence that we could push all the way.

“It is another opportunity to test ourselves against a big club. It is not an easy game, but we are preparing for it.”

After an indifferent start to the season, City rebounded well and were riding high before the international break due to the African Nations Cup in January, but have since struggled to find their rhythm due to a host of players having left the club during the transfer window.

Mkhize is hoping that a positive result against club of Chiefs’ stature could restart their engines.

“When we started the season. We also struggled because it's a transition for the new players, some of them have never played in the PSL before. But we are making progress, and one good result can change many things,” he said.

Equally, the skipper is not too perturbed that City will be hosting Chiefs at their alternate venue of Athlone Stadium due to a clash of fixtures with the Stormers rugby team, who will be playing later in the evening at Cape Town Stadium.

“For us, the most important thing is that we are playing at home. It doesn’t matter who we are playing and it doesn’t matter if we are playing at Athlone or Cape Town Stadium,” he added.

A former favourite son of Cape Town City Mduduzi Mdantsane, who spent three-and-half seasons in the blue and gold, will also return in the black and gold of Chiefs for a second time this season.

Mdantsane was hugely influential in turning the tide in favour of Chiefs when the teams met at the same venue in the MTN8 quarter-finals, but Mkhize is keen on ensuring that his good friend doesn’t have a similar impact this time.

“Whenever they come back to play, they want to kill us!” Mkhize joked.

“Mdu played really well in the MT8, but he is not going to return home smiling. He must leave here, and leave the three points behind. And then afterwards we can talk again.”