Absa Premiership

Chiefs relish Championship hunt

2014-11-21 17:05
Stuart Baxter (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter says his players are relishing the role of being the hunters as opposed to the hunted in this season's Premiership title race.

Read: Chiefs form 'temporary' – Modise

"Last year we were trying to defend our title. This time around we are the hunters," Baxter said in Johannesburg on Friday.

"It's a different scenario compared to last season. We have all played the same number of games."

The former Premiership champions found the pressures of being defending champions too heavy a burden when they relinquished the title last season to Mamelodi Sundowns. Amakhosi gave up a nine point lead during the home stretch to surrender the championship to their arch rivals.

They meet the Sundowns on Saturday at the FNB Stadium where they would be looking to make enforce their intentions.

"Our target for the rest of the year is to collect more points than anyone else," Baxter said.

"For us this is the most important issue. We have had a good start, but we know that it's not over until the fat lady sings."

The log leading Amakhosi have been in fine form in the Premiership have recorded a near perfect start with nine wins out of 10 league games.

With a significant portion of players having been on national team duty for the past two weeks, Baxter believed it would add value to the club.

"The international break won't affect us, it's all in the mind. We are proud to have our players selected for the national team.

"That experience of international football is good for us."

Bafana Bafana returned to the country on Thursday after a 2-2 draw against Nigeria in the last of their group A Afcon qualifiers.

Fearing fatigue and a lack of sharpness, Baxter said he would make the final starting 11 decision after training on Friday afternoon.

"I'll assess the players who come from national duty and will make a decision after that."

Chiefs' fans would be sweating the fitness of captain Itumeleng Khune, who had been sidelined for two months with a foot injury.

"Itu has trained hard but there is still some work to do. It's a situation of one step forward and three steps backwards."

Sundowns have had a lukewarm start to their title defence, having won four matches, lost two and drawn four.

The Brazilians would be aiming to hand Amakshosi their first loss in the league, and begin their climb up from fifth position on the table.

Kick-off is at 15:30.

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Cape Town City FC v Ajax Cape Town, Cape Town Stadium 15:30
Free State Stars v Maritzburg United, Goble Park 15:30
Mamelodi Sundowns v Platinum Stars, Loftus Versfeld Stadium 18:00
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