Sport

Khune still sidelined for Chiefs

Sisa Majola

Tinashe Nengomasha will continue leading Kaizer Chiefs in coming weeks with recently appointed skipper Itumeleng Khune still sidelined.

Tinashe Nengomasha will continue leading Kaizer Chiefs in coming weeks with recently appointed skipper Itumeleng Khune still sidelined.

Khune is set to have a groin operation on Friday that will see him back in action early next year.

Khune was last month made club captain after the sacking of Jimmy Tau from the role but has yet to feature since his appointment as he first had to nurse pneumonia.

“Khune is going for a groin surgery tomorrow [Friday] and will be out for eight weeks,” said the team’s coach Vladimir Vermezovic.

“Already, Khune had been out for five weeks, and [reserve goalkeeper] Arthur Bartman has been ready to play. Of course, as much as we will miss Khune, Bartman has done an excellent job.”

‘Fit and ready’
Nengomasha, fresh from captaining Zimbabwe to a 2-1 win over Bafana Bafana in Harare midweek, will wear the armband in the side’s crunch encounter against Santos at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday evening.

There are also Bafana players in midfield making a return, as Siphiwe Tshabalala and George Lebese arrived on Wednesday.

“Our preparations for this game went very well and I am happy our guys from the national teams have come back healthy,” Vermezovic said.

“I watched some games in Europe and South America where the guys got bad injuries in a Fifa week.

“I am also happy that all the guys in the squad are fit and ready for the game on Saturday.”

Remain on top
The Glamour Side are second on the table with 20 points, with a better goal difference separating them with third-placed Moroka Swallows, after 10 matches—four points adrift log leaders SuperSport United.

Chiefs have won six games, drawn two and lost two, and are coming off a 0-0 draw with Maritzburg United last week.

Their schedule for the rest of the year will be a challenging one, though, as they aim to remain in the top two when the league resumes again in mid-January.

Chiefs targeted the Premiership title this season, which would be their first since the 2004/05 season when Ted Dumitru was in charge.

“We are still in the top three but the next five games for us will be interesting because there will be consecutive big matches against SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns.”

‘Special preparation’
“The next game against Free State Stars will be just as tough and we will need special preparation for these two games [Santos and Stars].

“We want to stay close to the top. I said before, our main goal this season is the league, and we will do everything we can to be successful in that.”

Telkom Knockout semi-finalists Santos have improved in recent weeks after an indifferent start to their campaign, and historically, have made Chiefs fight for a result.

They are 13th on the log on 10 points with three wins, a draw and six losses from 10 games.

After a week of rest because of international matches, the Boebie Solomons-coached Cape outfit will be recharged for the fixture.

The People’s Team’s top striker, Erwin Isaacs, has found good form and will be key in a win that could aid the Cape side end the weekend in ninth place.—Sapa

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