Chiefs welcome back Tinashe
Tinashe Nengomasha (Gallo)
Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs' coach Vladimir Vermezovic welcomes back his midfield general Tinashe Nengomasha and tough-as-teak defender Punch Masenamela for Sunday’s Absa Premiership clash against high-riding Bloemfontein Celtic at the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium, in Botshabelo
Both players missed Amakhosi’s morale-boosting 3-1 win over AmaZulu at the FNB Stadium on Wednesday night.
Vermezovic was delighted to have Zimbabwean ace Nengomasha and Masenamela back after missing the win over AmaZulu through suspension.
"We missed our midfield general [Nengomasha]. The likes of Josta Dladla, Ye-Ye [Reneilwe Letsholonyane] and [Mthokozisi] Yende tried hard to stamp their authority in midfield, but we need Nengomasha to marshall that department.
"His return is a huge boost against Celtic, who are going to be another tough nut to crack."
The victory was an expensive one for Chiefs. Strikers Kaizer Motaung jun., who scored twice against Usuthu, and Abia Nale limped off the field.
Motaung jun. has a groin strain, while Nale suffered an ankle injury. Both are doubtful for Sunday’s showdown in the Free State capital and face late fitness tests.
Vermezovic said the injury to Motaung was a blow as the striker had recently regained his form with three goals in as many games.
"I do not know how serious the injury is. Hopefully he will be fit but we will have to wait and see."
With Nale and Motaung doubtful, Vermezovic is likely to partner newcomer Stanton Lewis and Knowledge Musona together in a twin attack.
"I believe Lewis and Musona will soon get a good understanding and complement each other in attack," said the Serbian-born coach.
Lewis made his Chiefs debut in the 73rd minute when he replaced the injured Nale.
Celtic held leaders Mamelodi Sundowns to a 1-1 draw at the same venue in their Wednesday clash.
Vermezovic said he was not too worried about Celtic, who are unbeaten at home this season.
"I know they are a good side, especially at home, but I prefer to focus on getting my players right.
"I was happy with the three points against AmaZulu, who were not an easy side to beat, especially after we lost to Ajax Cape Town [1-0] last weekend.
"It was important to bounce back and stay in the title race, although it is still early days as we are only now finishing the first round."
The Chiefs' coach is worried about his players picking up too many yellow cards.
"I lost both Nengomasha and Masenamela through suspension for the AmaZulu game and now I have two central defenders Thomas Sweswe and Dominic Isaacs on two bookings -- one away from suspension.
"The players have to stop picking up unnecessary bookings."
AmaZulu have slumped to 13th place on 15 points in the Premiership and are in trouble if they lose to second bottom Moroka Swallows in Sunday’s other fixture to be staged at the Dobsonville Stadium.
The Birds moved to 11 points after defeating bottom side Mpumalanga Black Aces 3-1 at Dobsonville in their Wednesday match -- a relegation battle.
AmaZulu coach Manqoba Mngqithi was optimistic, and said that although it was tough playing two matches on the road, his team would be ready.
A third win for the improving Birds against Usuthu under new coach Gordon Igesund would see his side finally rise clear of the two relegation places.
Aces are propping up the table on five points. They travel to Cape Town’s Athlone Stadium to play Santos on Saturday night.