/ 24 November 2009

Moment of truth for Chiefs

Kaizer Chiefs face their moment of truth when they host Absa Premiership champions and current log leaders SuperSport United on Wednesday night in what promises to be an explosive showdown at Loftus Versfeld.

Amakhosi coach Vladimir Vermezovic, pulled no punches after his final training session at Naturena on Tuesday, ahead of the big game when he stressed: ”This is the most important game of the season for us.

”We are eight points behind SuperSport and need to win this game to close the gap and keep ourselves in the title race.”

The Serbian-born coach added he would not try and defend against the free scoring United. ”I respect SuperSport who play attacking soccer, but there is no way I will change my game plan and try and get a 0-0 draw.

”I am not going to defend. I am aiming at getting three points.”

Vermezovic said he rated United as the best side in the league at present and was wary of their big strength which are set pieces.

”We have worked well this week at training and are prepared. SuperSport are excellent at set pieces and we have to be careful.”

Chiefs are injury free and Vermezovic is not likely to bring back his number one goalkeeper, Itumeleng Khune, for this important clash.

Explained the Amakhosi coach: ”Khune has just returned to duty after a long term injury and I have to be careful with him.

”He is my number one keeper, but Arthur Bartman, who has played most of the season since Khune’s injury, has done well and I do not see any reason to change.

”I do not want to destroy Bartman’s confidence. Bafana Bafana also need Khune fit for the World Cup.”

Vermezovic said he rated United coach Gavin Hunt highly and said the two danger-men are striker Anthony Laffor and winger Daine Klate.

”Laffor is their most dangerous player, but Klate is also a top-class player. I like Laffor’s style, he is my type of player.”

The Chiefs coach said he is not in favour of bringing in technology into the game. He said the mistakes made by referee Harry Lekitlane against Santos in Port Elizabeth last Friday, were down to human error.

Lekitlane made one of the worst refereeing errors in SA soccer history when he disallowed a late equaliser for Santos and gifted Chiefs a 1-0 win.

”There will always be human error in soccer and sometimes those mistakes are costly. We had problems in the first five games [with refereeing decisions] and never complained.

”We can say we are 10 points down because of those mistakes.” But Vermezovic conceded that Fifa could change the rules and allow five officials instead of three to officiate at matches with two more assistant referees behind each goal to prevent a referee like Lekitlane making such a howler again.

”I am not in favour of videos at soccer, but bringing in two more officials could help.”

Amakhosi skipper Jimmy Tau, agreed with his coach that this is a real do or die game. ”This is a six pointer for us. We know the challenge ahead of us and how crucial a win is for us to close that gap.”

Tau stressed that Chiefs could still win the Premiership if they beat SuperSport.

”We know the challenge that lies ahead on Wednesday. We have worked hard, especially at set pieces. We know how good they are at those and we are prepared.”

The other big game on Wednesday is the showdown at Atteridgeville’s Super Stadium where two improved sides, Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates meet.

Downs defeated struggling Mpumalanga Black Aces 1-0 in Witbank last weekend, while Bucs destroyed second placed Ajax Cape Town 3-0 at Orlando Stadium.

Pirates have scored six goals in their last two games after a goal drought but coach Ruud Krol expects more goals.

Said Krol: ”It is nice to be scoring goals but we are still missing too many chances.”

In other fixtures on Wednesday Ajax host Free State Stars at the Boland Stadium; Bloemfontein Celtic play Santos at the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium; AmaZulu meet Platinum Stars at Chatsworth; Moroka Swallows play Aces at Dobsonville and Maritzburg United face BidVest Wits at the Woodburn Stadium. — Sapa