New Chiefs faces target Spurs
Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs coach Vladimir Vermezovic said he would use the Vodacom Challenge to blood his new signings ahead of a difficult season with his side in search of Premiership glory.
It has been six seasons since the Glamour Side last lifted the league title that has been highly prioritised by the club's hierarchy in the new campaign.
Chiefs play English club Tottenham Hotspur at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the opening match of the annual pre-season tournament that also features their Soweto rivals and current league champions, Orlando Pirates.
In what will be his third season in charge of the side, Vermezovic has grown accustomed to South African soccer culture and the pressures of coaching a local giant.
Now he wants new signings in striker Lehlohonolo Majoro and defenders Tefu Mashamaite, Brent Lawler and Keegan Ritchie to quickly acclimatise with the Chiefs system and playing in front of capacity crowds.
"It will be a good game against Tottenham, it will be good preparation and a good tournament for us," said Vermezovic.
"We will use this to give the new players a chance to feel what it's like to play in front of big crowds and full stadiums so they will get a good idea what it means to play for Chiefs.
“With two weeks of training behind us, we still have two more tough weeks ahead in terms of running, you know nobody likes to run but they had to do that."
Probably even more so for Majoro and Ritchie, the former AmaZulu and Moroka Swallows players, respectively.
Majoro will be asked to fill the scoring void expected to be left by the talismanic Knowledge Musona who is on the verge of moving to the German Bundesliga.
He is currently at Hoffenheim in Germany where the deal formalities will be completed in the next week if everything goes according to plan.
With fullback Punch Masenamela having been sold to Mamelodi Sundowns earlier in the month, Ritchie and Zhaimo Jambo will battle it out for a starting berth on the left side of defence.
“Majoro is a very interesting player for us, I think he can adapt very quickly and complete our system of playing well," Vermezovic said.
"I expect a lot of goals from him this season." Mashamaite, who captained Bidvest Wits in the previous two seasons said that he was prepared for new challenges alongside his new team-mates.
“It's a new start, the pre-season training has been very challenging and there are new ways of doing things and I'm just trying to adapt," said Mashamaite.
“We're a team with good players and I've got people that I can learn from and hopefully can also add value to the team."
Ritchie said he had mixed emotions about possibly making his Chiefs debut against a pedigree team like Spurs with speedy English international Aaron Lennon likely to test him for pace on his flank.
“Playing Spurs, there are a lot of nerves and excitement, they play in Europe so you couldn't ask to play a better team," he said.
“We want to win the league this season and win Cups and this will be a good start." The match kicks off at 3pm.