Chiefs keen to make amends
Vladimir Vermezovic (File)
Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs will look to improve on their shock loss in the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup last season, as they take on little known Cape Town All Stars on Saturday at the FNB Stadium.
The Amakhosi are not expecting a big crowd against the minnows, who turn out in South Africa's third-tier league, but will hope to improve on their early 2011 exit to another small side, Baroka FC, as they get their campaign underway.
“We know they're a Vodacom League team, and we want to take it seriously,” Chiefs coach Vladimir Vermezovic said on Wednesday.
“We are big favourites in this game, but cup competitions are very strange.
“In the last two or three years we didn't play well against the teams from the second and third divisions, but we try not to repeat the same mistakes."
Chiefs have not made it to the semi-final stage in the last two seasons of the competition and Vermezovic hinted at complacency among his players when it came to knockout tournaments.
“We were very relaxed in those games and I tried to lift them up but it's very difficult," he said.
"In our side are very big Kaizer Chiefs players and the other side is a smaller team, but in today's football you don't have the right to underestimate anybody.”
Vermezovic admitted he knew very little about their opposition for the round of 32 clash.
“I don't have any information about them," he said.
"Our scouting service is still preparing a recommendation for this game.”
The Chiefs mentor said he was not concerned at a likely poor turnout at the stadium that hosted the 2010 World Cup final.
“I don't expect too many people, but to play home or away it's not a big difference because we feel at home everywhere.”
The Serbian said most of his players were ready for the match with only a few struggling to recover from niggles, including Siphiwe Tshabalala who is still nursing knee and ankle injuries.
Chiefs player Kaizer Motaung Jr said the hosts needed to take their chances in front of goal to achieve the results their fans expected.
“We have to bury our chances. We have to cut down on our mistakes," Motaung said.
"Concentration in vital areas of the field is what is costing us at the moment.”
Motaung has not featured much in the Chiefs starting line-up this season and relished the opportunity presented by a cup match.
“I've only started two games the whole season," he said.
"For me I'm just itching to go and to get a chance, and I want to give my best if I get that chance.”
Premiership sides Maritzburg United and Bloemfontein Celtic will kick off the round of 32 at Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night.
In the other big first-round games, Swallows will aim to carry their form in the league, where they lie sixth, into the cup competition, when they host Wits at Dobsonville Stadium on March 9.
Defending champions Orlando Pirates will be away to Ethekwini Coastal FC at King Zwelithini Stadium on March 10.
Rounding out the fixtures, on March 11, Amazulu and Ajax Cape Town square off in an all-Premiership clash at Moses Mabhida Stadium.