Usuthu set for Chiefs battle

2009-12-22 07:23
Neil Tovey (File)

Johannesburg - AmaZulu coach Neil Tovey is hoping to end 2009 with a bang when they face Kaizer Chiefs in their final Absa Premiership fixture of the year at Loftus on Wednesday night. Kick-off is at 19:30.

And in that spirit the former Bafana Bafana and Chiefs captain has promised to take the game to Amakhosi.

Tovey is relishing playing against his former club where as captain he won every major honour in the local game.

Amakhosi virtually ended their dreams of challenging for the Premiership title after they were beaten 2-1 by fellow title contenders Mamelodi Sundowns at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban at the weekend. Chiefs, with 38 points, are nine points behind leaders and defending champions SuperSport United and three adrift of Sundowns.

United face Downs at Loftus on Tuesday night in what could be the league decider.

But Tovey has other problems. He admitted while he was happy with the improvement in his side, he reckons AmaZulu are still four points short of safety.

Said Tovey: "We have had a good second round after a poor start to the season. We have collected 11 points from a possible 21 in our last seven games, but I feel that we need 30 to be finally clear of relegation."

Usuthu drew 0-0 against bottom club Jomo Cosmos on Sunday at the new Moses Mabhida Stadium which will be used as a World Cup venue.

"At the end of the day a point was OK. It was difficult because Cosmos had 10 men behind the ball and the wet slippery and windy conditions made life difficult for the players," said Tovey.

But the coach has promised a positive attitude and is not looking for just a point. "I want three points. The problem at AmaZulu is we do not know how to defend will go for a result.

"Chiefs will be down after losing against Sundowns and I hope they are already in the Christmas spirit and we can take advantage of them. It would be brilliant to go into the break with a win over Chiefs under our belts."

Tovey has found a new gem in striker Ayanda Dlamini who netted a hat-trick in Usuthus 4-0 away win over Moroka Swallows last Wednesday.

Dlamini will partner Dumisani Ngwenya as the two-pronged attack against Chiefs.

"Dlamini has potential. He decision making is still suspect, but he is a hard working player, has an appetite for goals and a bright future ahead of him.

"We will use pace to try and unsettle Chiefs."

Chiefs coach Vladimir Vermezovic, will not be too disheartened after the loss to Downs. He is in record saying it takes time to build a side and he has targeted the 2010-11 season in which to launch his campaign to challenge for the championship.

But he will want to wipe away the memory of the loss to Sundowns and Usuthu could feel the backlash.

Chiefs, in Siphiwe Tshabalala, Chippa Nhleko, Kaizer Motaung junior and Knowledge Musona, have players who are capable of winning the match.

Cosmos face an uphill battle when they entertain third place Santos at the Rand Stadium, also at 19:30. Cosmos have scored the least goals - 16 in 23 matches - while Santos have conceded the least goals- 12 in 22 fixtures.

Unless Cosmos can find a striker who can find the back of the net, it could be another disappointing 90 minutes.

Ezenkosi squandered three gilt-edged chances against AmaZulu and with games running out, badly need a boost ahead of the five week break.

In Wednesdays other fixture Swallows host Free State Stars at Dobsonville. Kick-off is at 15:30.

The PSL will break until February 3.

Read more on:    neil tovey  |  psl

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