Chiefs determined to bring home a crown

One swift derby blow was all it took to leave Kaizer Chiefs staggering on their league feet. Four points behind Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates and eight points behind favourites Sundowns, things are looking glum in that regard.

Fittingly, the grey skies opened as rain steadily streamed down all of Thursday morning to greet Steve Komphela and his players. This will be the last training session in the compound at Naturena before they catch a flight to Durban on Saturday afternoon to take on Stellenbosch FC in the Nedbank Cup last 16.

Neither last weekend nor the weather did much to dampen the hunger of the team, however. The mood is strong. This is a team that’s desperate to hoist silverware this term and have earmarked Saturday as the first step on the best path to doing so.

In fact, if you’re Komphela you haven’t even given up on the league.

“Logically, chances are still there,” he said just before training kicked off.

“You have to still remain optimistic, only pessimists would give in. Even if we were equal on points, and there would be a question of goal difference – we would still remain optimistic. But as is, 21 points to go for, it’s still possible, that’s how we look at it. As professionals, we have to keep doing our job.”

While games against National First Division sides in the Nedbank Cup are often viewed as prime time to blood some youngsters and conduct a couple tactical experiments, Amakhosi may not follow tradition. The tournament could be the last chance saloon for a trophy and the team may be loath to tinker too much lest consistency be disturbed.

“Let’s say you reshuffle too much … the same thing happened with Klopp at Liverpool. He went in and reshuffled his team, they played well and were on the verge of winning that match and then drew it. He had to face the music. So it’s a question of do I freshen up the team so that I give opportunities to others? Brilliant idea. If it backfires, you must account. So it’s a question of not knowing what’s going to happen, but you still have your wishes. It would be nice if everybody got a chance,” Komphela said. 

Defender Daniel Cardoso was blunt that the Glamour Boys’ need to bring a trophy home to the fans.

“Us [his generation] and the youngsters below us need to learn that this is a team that wins trophies,” he said. “Two-and-a-half years without a trophy is quite a poor run for us and we need to change that around. We keep saying that we will but everytime the chance comes around we keep failing. Hopefully this time we can turn it around and win this Nedbank Cup.”

For Cardoso, the biggest mistake they could make would be to think that Stellenbosch will just lie down for a walkover.

“We played them last season in the last 32 and we beat them 3-0. They’re not a walkover – they went into the playoffs last season. Any team that comes up against Chiefs, no matter what team it is, they’re always going to fight. If they beat us it’s a big feeling for them because they have beaten one of the best teams in South Africa. We’re not going to take it as an easy game, it’s another chance for us to step up and win a trophy.”

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Luke Feltham
Luke Feltham

Luke Feltham runs the Mail & Guardian's sports desk. He was previously the online day editor.

Advertisting

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Stay at home, Cyril said. But what about the homeless?

In Tshwane, forcing homeless people off the street resulted in chaos and the abuse of a vulnerable population. In Durban, a smooth, well-planned operation fared far better

Press Releases

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders