Goal takes a look at Kaizer Chiefs task of reclaiming the PSL title and the challenges they face on the road to gloryFollowing Saturday night's 1-0 defeat to title rivals Mamelodi Sundowns at the FNB Stadium, the table-topping Kaizer Chiefs have left many a supporter wondering if they will last the distance once more to claim back-to-back ABSA Premiership titles.
Despite losing their three-point advantage, they still have a game in hand to restore that advantage.
"If we win all our remaining six matches then we win the Premiership," that was the view of coach Stuart Baxter after Saturday's loss.
However winning all six of them will be quite an uphill task, seeing that teams like your MP Black Aces, Polokwane City, Free State Stars, Bidvest Wits, Tuks and Amazulu are no pushovers. These teams will certainly not roll over and play dead against the Amakhosi, given the certain objectives they themselves are targeting.
If you were to factor in quality against the aforementioned teams, then the Amakhosi will certainly seal all six in the end. After all they are the champions, and if you remember the 2004/05 season they were in a similar situation. The only difference is that back then they needed to win four matches in succession to win back-to-back titles against tough opposition too.
In the end they reigned supreme, albeit to the brilliance of Collins Mbesuma accompanied by the late Scara Ngobese and David Radebe. With that said, a similar scenario in 2013/14 could very well unfold.
Will Fatigue Cost Them?
African safaris in the form of the Orange Caf Champions League and now the Orange Caf Confederations Cup, plus the Nedbank Cup has given the Amakhosi a tight schedule.
With the season entering its final stages, plus the demand from the team's hierarchy to excel in all those competitions will invariably put pressure on the team and with that comes fatigue.
Baxter has alluded to the latter on one occasion and added that a rotation policy of some sort to keep them afloat in all tournaments will be the way to go. Will that be a viable solution given that they don't have a big enough squad like their rivals Sundowns and Orlando Pirates? Only time will tell.
Lack of Plan B
Coaches who are renowned for winning league titles will tell you that the secret to it is not so much in having a big quality squad, but having alternative plans to grind out results when the initial plan has been figured out.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane knew the plan of Chiefs on Saturday, and prepared accordingly for it and it paid dividends for them.
Platinum Stars coach Allan Freese echoed the same stance after beating them 2-0 recently. Baxter failed to conjur up alternative solutions in both of those encounters, and against good tacticians like Clive Barker and Hunt could learn how to take points from the champions.
So, with a much stronger squad, can Sundowns make the difference and gain the initiative?