Chiefs coach focuses on league title

Vladimir Vermezovic aims to keep his Kaizer Chiefs players focused on the league title following their Telkom Knockout success on the weekend.

Amakhosi, last season’s Knockout champions, defended their crown by thumping Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates 3-0 in a one-sided final at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

And while Vermezovic was naturally delighted to bag some silverware, he insists there is no space for complacency.

“The players can party and celebrate all they want tonight but by Sunday morning we need to get our heads right for the challenges ahead,” Vermezovic said.

“I do not mind if they come straight from the party to training but we need to refocus on our next challenge and that is our league match away to Free State Stars on Saturday.”

Last month, at the same venue, Chiefs outplayed Pirates 3-1 in a league tie, and Vermezovic believes beating Bucs back-to-back could propel his charges to their first Premiership title since 2005.

“We could win the league. Why not? But a lot will depend on our next three matches this month and on January 8 when we play log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns,” he said.

“There is still a long season ahead and a lot can happen. I am not predicting anything yet.

“Let me just savour retaining the Knockout cup for the moment.”

The Serbian coach said he was thrilled to be a part of history by securing the same title twice in one year — a statistic made possible by the Premier Soccer League’s decision to shorten last season to help Bafana Bafana prepare for the World Cup held on home soil in June/July.

“This is the first time that a team has won a trophy and defended it in the same calendar year,” he said.

The former Yugoslavia international added that his team never lacks motivation for a Soweto derby.

“For 10 days before playing Pirates my players are already hyped up and keen to play,” he said. “I do not understand the mentality of the players in this regard, but I tried to explain we cannot play Pirates every week.

“Tonight [Saturday], however, I thought we played really well and deserved to retain the cup. I am delighted with the players and their big effort.

“Now we need to keep it up and try to win the league.” — www.football365

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