Cape Town - Much has
been made of Kaizer Chiefs' first Premiership defeat of the season, but is
there really cause for concern in the Amakhosi camp?
PSL: Our pick of the
The Glamour Boys' hopes of becoming the first team in the
PSL era to go the entire league campaign unbeaten went up in smoke last weekend
as Stuart Baxter's men crashed to a 2-0 defeat away to SuperSport United.
It was not the first time the Soweto giants had tasted
defeat this term, though, with the side having crashed out of the Telkom Cup at
the semi-finals after going down on penalties to Platinum Stars.
It was, however, a first loss in 20 Premiership outings for
Chiefs, who had won 14 and drawn five of their previous 19 matches to open up a
15-point lead at the top of the standings, before Matsatsantsa brought them
crashing back down to earth.
Mamelodi Sundowns have since taken full advantage of that
loss after beating Moroka Swallows at the beginning of February and dispatching
AmaZulu in the first of their two catch-up games on Tuesday to cut the gap at
the top to 10 points with 11 games remaining this term (10 for Chiefs).
That divide could, however, be bridged even more by Tuesday
evening as Sundowns face Bidvest Wits in Johannesburg, 24 hours before Chiefs
are in action at home against Ajax Cape Town.
The big concern among Chiefs fans is the fact their side let
slip a 12-point lead at a similar stage last season to allow the Brazilians to
overtake them in the race for the top-flight crown.
A big reason for that capitulation was believed to be down
to Amakhosi's CAF Champions League commitments, where they progressed to the
second round before falling to eventual tournament runners-up AS Vita Club.
Chiefs are again in the top tier of continental football
this year, and with their domestic lead two points less than what it was last
season, fears of another implosion have started gripping the gold half of
Baxter's men will now embark on the second-leg of their CAF
Champions League preliminary round encounter away to Botswana champions
Township Rollers on Saturday, where the PSL giants hold a 2-1 advantage from
the first leg in Johannesburg.
The Glamour Boys also have a Nedbank Cup last-16 encounter
against National First Division outfit Black Leopards coming up in March after
Chiefs cruised to a 4-0 win over Edu Sports FC in the last 32 on Saturday.
The concern there is that Chiefs may again have too much on
their plate, which could severely upset their Premiership apple cart, with the
league title arguably Amakhosi's main target this term.
And, on top of that, Sundowns have been in simply sublime
form, having gone undefeated in their last 15 league matches - winning the
previous four in a row - with a 2-0 Nedbank Cup triumph over Thanda Royal Zulu
thrown in for good measure.
However - and this is a big 'however' - there are only 10
games left in the Premiership campaign for Chiefs, and to suggest one defeat in
20 will spark a complete and utter collapse of this season's work is more than
a long shot. One also has to consider that Sundowns would arguably need to win
almost all of their remaining 11 matches in order to take advantage of any
points dropped by the Glamour Boys, and while the Tshwane giants do indeed have
an impressive record this term, they have also drawn no fewer than seven games
- something coach Pitso Mosimane has regularly bemoaned.
So, while those outside of Naturena may view defeat to
SuperSport as the beginning of the end of Chiefs, the more level-headed will be
more than happy to hold off any sentencing for a few weeks - or at least until
after next month's Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates - before preparing the
PSL chopping block.