PSL

Time for Chiefs to step up

2016-09-18 05:19
TOUGH TIMES Steve Komphela and Chiefs players are going through a rough patch, having lost to Bidvest Wits and drawn with Platinum Stars. Picture: BackpagePix

After two rounds of matches in the Premiership league, the log standing is unsurprising – and unimpressive – with eight clubs still to get off the ground as the bottom half of the table shows loss-draw results.

Four clubs show win-draw and two have win-loss scores.

But it is interesting at the top, with Orlando Pirates the only club to tally up win-win figures.

After in-form Bucs striker Tendai Ndoro’s exploits in front of the net, the question is: Can he go all the way to win a Golden Boot award?

With five goals to his name, Ndoro is already carrying the hopes of Pirates to deliver the elusive Absa Premiership title, which has eluded the team for six years.

But his detractors are not convinced, saying they have seen this movie before, albeit with a different cast, and know when and how it will end. It is up to Ndoro to let his boots silence them.

Pirates coach Muhsin Ertugral feels there is still room for improvement, despite the team winning their opening two matches in the league.

Ertugral does not think the Bucs are at a level to clinch the silverware, despite having made a perfect start.

Things are not so rosy on the other side of Soweto, with Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela already under pressure to deliver.

A loss to Bidvest Wits and a draw with Platinum Stars have not been well received by Amakhosi supporters, who are now demanding change.

But firing the coach is not the solution to Chiefs’ problems.

Long before the season started, it was clear Amakhosi would struggle as they were not market-driven enough, if the quality of players they acquired is anything to go by.

It is not known how much, if any, influence Komphela had in bringing in these players.

Of the 10 or so players paraded two months ago, only four have seen any game play so far. Ramahlwe Mphahlele appears to be the best transfer acquisition.

TUESDAY

Orlando Pirates vs Cape Town City (Orlando Stadium)

Pirates were impressive on their way to a 2-1 win over Ajax Cape Town on Tuesday, and they will try to extend their 100% record under Ertugral when they host another Cape side, Cape Town City, on Tuesday evening. But this is a grudge game of sorts, considering the manner in which coach Eric Tinkler left the Buccaneers. He still has a bone to pick with them, and nothing will please him more than inflicting his new team’s first victory on his former club.

He will also be looking forward to the maiden Cape derby on Friday between his team and Ajax as it is another duel he can ill afford to lose – not only because the two clubs are fighting over territory, but also because he will come up against his former boss, current Ajax coach Roger De Sá. Tinkler worked under De Sá at BidVest Wits and at Pirates.

Pick: Pirates win

Ajax Cape Town vs Polokwane City (Cape Town Stadium)

City coach Luc Eymael goes back to the Premier Soccer League, where he lost to Cape Town City. Both teams are looking to register first victories of the season after each lost one and drew one. After a credible draw against title favourites Bidvest Wits, with 10 men City are looking to build on that solid performance. Eymael seems to have found his footing after two games. De Sá knows he needs to win at home if he is to make an impression this season. He has already lost once to Pirates and will be looking to bounce back immediately at the expense of City.

Pick: City win

Baroka FC vs Bidvest Wits (New Peter Mokaba Stadium)

Bidvest’s Gavin Hunt can afford to take his top students on yet another trip to Limpopo, following last night’s MTN8 second leg against Cape Town City. Unlike on Tuesday when he rested his A students, which resulted in a draw against Polokwane City, Hunt will call up everyone as he tries to go back to his winning ways.

Baroka must dust themselves off after being humbled by fellow newcomers Highlands Park on Tuesday. The National First Division (NFD) champions were put to the sword 2-1 by a slick Highlands Park, despite being gifted with three penalties. Baroka coach Kgoloko Thobejane and his men have little time to dwell on the disappointing results; they simply have to prove their mettle against Wits.

Pick: Wits win

WEDNESDAY

Highlands Park vs Kaizer Chiefs (Makhulong Stadium)

It is time for Chiefs to step up. Everyone is after a win against them, and Highlands will also fancy their chances against the out-of-sorts Amakhosi. Highlands got a taste of the Premiership with a victory in their maiden game in top-flight league against Baroka on Tuesday.

After opening his goal-scoring account, last season’s top scorer Collins Mbesuma will be looking to increase his tally against his former side. Normally a game of this magnitude would not be played at this stadium, but it is a reflection on the Chiefs’ current state that Makhulong will host this match.

Pick: Chiefs win

Maritzburg United vs SuperSport United (Harry Gwala Stadium)

SuperSport have failed to find the back of the net in their opening two fixtures, and this should be of concern to Stuart Baxter. After bringing no less than eight players, Baxter knows he needs to collect points to survive.

Maritzburg have four points, thanks to their 1-0 away victory over Bloemfontein Celtic and a credible draw against the defending champions. But Ernst Middendorp knows wins at home will go a long way to securing the team’s status.

Pick: Maritzburg win

Free State Stars vs Golden Arrows (Goble Park Stadium)

Stars got their first point of the season after a draw against Bloemfontein Celtic in the Free State derby, but will need to be more clinical in scoring if they are to survive the drop to the NFD.

Arrows are on a high after a 2-0 win over Cape Town City. But lack of consistency has been their undoing, so Clinton Larsen will be hoping the win heralds a new start. They lost 3-1 to Pirates in their opening game. Stars coach Denis Lavagne would have been happy with the point but knows he has to make homeground advantage count.

Pick: Draw

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Fixtures
28 September 2016
Free State Stars v Kaizer Chiefs, James Motlatsi Stadium 19:30
Baroka FC v Chippa United, New Peter Mokaba Stadium 19:30
Golden Arrows v SuperSport United, Princess Magogo Stadium 19:30
15 October 2016
Free State Stars v Maritzburg United, James Motlatsi Stadium 15:30
Golden Arrows v Chippa United, Prince Magogo Stadium 15:30
Platinum Stars v Bloemfontein Celtic, Royal Bafokeng Stadium 15:30
Kaizer Chiefs v Ajax Cape Town, Moses Mabhida Stadium 18:00
Cape Town City v Baroka FC, Cape Town Stadium 20:15
16 October 2016
SuperSport United v Highlands Park, Lucas Moripe Stadium 15:30
Polokwane City v Orlando Pirates, New Peter Mokaba Stadium 15:30
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