Katlego Mphela still some way off starting for Chiefs

Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter hints to Goal that Katlego Mphela could make his first appearance for Amakhosi soon, but rules out starting his new signing this week
Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter has ruled out a starting role for new-signing Katlego Mphela in Amakhosi's next game against Maritzburg United on Tuesday, adding that Mphela is still not fully fit and ready to play from the get-go.

“Katlego’s trained and he’s working hard. He feels he’s got a bit to come," Baxter told Goal over the weekend.

“Certainly he won’t be starting any games for us until he is 100% and that’s not as it looks at the moment."

Baxter did, however, hint toward using Mphela from the bench in order to ramp up his sharpness and match-fitness.

“I’ll be speaking to the physical people and asking whether he has a half-an-hour of full speed in him," Baxter said.

“What is his problem? The endurance or the sharpness? How strong is he looking in the tests and based on that, we would like to bring him in as quickly as we can.

“So, there’s a possibility there, but I don’t want to promise anything."

Chiefs completed the transfer of out-of-favour Mphela earlier this month, agreeing to sign him on a pre-contract from Mamelodi Sundowns, which takes effect in June when his current deal with the Brazilians expires.

Chiefs, however, successfully negotiated his early release, in the form of a loan deal that takes him to Naturena until the end of the season, at which time he will officially sign his contract with the Glamour Boys.

Mphela's loan -- and subsequent contract agreement -- brings an end to a five-year stint with Sundowns, where the controversial striker became one of South Africa's deadliest finishers, earning him the nickname "Killer".

Despite his reputation for goal-getting, Mphela failed to impress Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane, who could only provide limited first-team opportunities to the Bafana Bafana international.

Baxter, though, has been impressed with his new acquisition.

“He’s looked sharper than I thought he would be, so he certainly is working hard and he’s certainly enthusiastic."