AmaKhosi take unbeaten league start to Maritzburg United
The Absa Premiership clash gives AmaKhosi the chance to extend their lead at the top of the league table to seven points, for 24 hours at least, but they face a Maritzburg side who are particularly difficult to beat on their own patch.
Chiefs are also guarding an unbeaten league start to the season that has seen them collect five wins in their opening seven matches and has early talk of the title rampant among the fans.
Coach Stuart Baxter has already said that it is too soon to be talking of silverware, but admits the side does have an efficient look to it.
“They are a good side, very well organised. They are very strong especially in the middle. In fact they have a very good spine. We know that it is going to be a tough game,” Baxter says.
“Our thought is to go out there and give our best. The next three or four games are going to be crucial as far as consolidating our position on the log is concerned. This makes the game against Maritzburg United very important and we will have to apply ourselves. We will give our all to bring all the points back to Johannesburg.”
Chiefs are likely to welcome back goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune from compassionate leave, but could lose winger Siphiwe Tshabalala to injury.
“It has been a difficult week considering the number of players that could not train with us due to different injuries,” Baxter says.
“It was of course a blow to lose the services of [left-back] Jimmy Jambo who might be out for a while and also Siphiwe took a knock at the Wits game and fatigue is catching up with him. We will have to wait and see if he is fit for the upcoming game.”
Maritzburg will be without Mthokosizi Yende, who is loan at the club from Chiefs, but is serving a suspension following a red card against Chippa United in their last league outing.
He says Maritzburg must stick to the basics and not be overawed by the arrival of Chiefs.
“We’re doing well this season, the spirit is high with the players and the momentum is there. We must stick to the basics and to our plan,” Yende says. “We must not try and changes anything just because it is Chiefs, we should stick to what we know and what has been working for us.
“For us, playing a game like this is a morale booster, and it’s the Chiefs players who will be under pressure because expectations are always high at the club.
“We should play our game, not worry about any particular Chiefs player and I’m sure the guys can get a good result, I wish them all the best for Friday.”
|DID YOU KNOW|
- Maritzburg United beat Kaizer Chiefs the last time the teams met in a League clash in April this year. Cuthbert Malajila scored in a 1-0 win
- Chiefs’ last win at Maritzburg came three years ago when they triumphed 3-1 in December 2009.
- Chiefs are one of just two unbeaten sides left in the Absa Premiership after seven rounds. SuperSport United are the other.
- Chiefs’ 15 goals in the most by any side in the Absa Premiership so far this season, while the three goals they have conceded are the least of any team.
- Chiefs’ Bernard Parker is the leading marksman in the PSL this season so far with seven goals, almost double the next highest.