AFTER being knocked out of the Nedbank Cup, Kaizer Chiefs have now set their sights on the league title, but they face a stiff challenge on Sunday afternoon in fellow title-hopefuls Mamelodi Sundowns.
The match is scheduled to take place at Loftus Stadium, kick-off at 3pm.
Chiefs head into the weekend’s action placed third on the log, six points behind log leaders Ajax Cape Town who claimed the top spot after their 2-1 victory over AmaZulu on Friday night. Nonetheless, according to their number one shot-stopper, Itumeleng Khune, they are determined to make up the difference and keep up the pressure by beating the Brazilians.
“We have a strong will and we have done the hard work by getting to within touching distance of the leaders and now that we are so close it is essential that we keep up the pressure on the two teams ahead of us by winning against another title chaser in Sundowns,” suggests the Bafana Bafana keeper.
When asked about Chiefs disappointing showing in the quarterfinal of the Nedbank where they lost 2-1 to Baroka FC, a second division team, he said that the past is forgotten and only what they do from here on in is important.
“Obviously we are not happy about losing to Baroka, we were devastated, but we have forgotten about it and are moving on, it is water under the bridge. What happens from here on in is what counts. We have worked well as a team of late in our league games and we need to work for each other and that will help us to get the result against Sundowns,” said Khune.
The Amakhosi’s last league outing saw them defeat Mpumalanga Black Aces 2-0, a result which not only kept them in the title race but also confirmed AmaZayoni’s relegation from the top flight.
Sundowns, on the other hand, have not played an official match in four weeks because their last league match against AmaZulu was postponed. In fact, the Brazilians’ last league outing was their 4-4 home draw with Ajax Cape Town.
‘Downs star striker Katlego Mphela, however, does not believe the long lay-off from league action will affect his team’s performance, “I don’t think the break will disturb our preparations for the game against Chiefs. We have been playing friendly games and put 100 percent commitment into those games, and we will be ready to face Chiefs.”
Mphela is currently second in the leading goal scorer charts with 12 goals which is one behind Chiefs’ Knowledge Musona, but he insists he is not concerned about that and only cares about helping his team, “I am not worried about who scores the goals; I just want to help my team beat Kaizer Chiefs. I don’t mind whether I score or not, as long as I contribute to my team getting the three points.”
In head-to-head stats, Sundowns and Chiefs have met 51 times in the league since 1985. Amakhosi have 20 wins to the Brazilians’ 16, while 15 matches have been drawn. When the teams met in an Absa Premiership match earlier this season, Chiefs won 1-0 at FNB Stadium thanks to a goal from striker Kaizer Motaung Jr.-Backpgepix