Former Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United midfielder Jabu Mahlangu believes Amakhosi are favourites to win the Premier Soccer League (PSL) match on Saturday but he also has a warning for the Soweto giants.
The retired dribbling wizard has made it clear he is rooting for coach Kaitano Tembo’s men but acknowledged new Amakhosi striker Samir Nurkovic as a dangerous player.
In addition, ‘Shuffle’ stated beating Orlando Pirates 3-0 last week is a massive boost for the Tshwane giants ahead of the eagerly anticipated clash at FNB Stadium.
“Tomorrow is a big one at the FNB Stadium, it’s a big game for both teams, us as SuperSport [and] for Chiefs as well," Mahlangu told Goal.
“We know the story of Kaizer Chiefs in the past four seasons and they will definitely want to redeem themselves this season," he noted.
“They have brought in new players, the foreign striker who wears number nine [Nurkovic] is a very dangerous man. In my opinion, they have signed good players," he praised.
“However, the responsibility lies with the likes of George Maluleka and [Lebogang] Manyama to understand him because they don’t have time. Nurkovic is very talented because he makes the team tick, he’s good in the air, he creates, and reads the game well.
“He is yet to score a goal but you can see he’s a quality player. So, this means Manyama and Maluleka must work very hard to understand him as soon as possible," added 'Shuffle'.
Speaking about his club who have also signed the likes of Thamsanqa Gabuza, Thabo Qalinge and Kudakwashe Mahachi, the former Amakhosi darling believes they have the right ammunition to hand a first defeat to coach Ernst Middendorp’s side.
“For us as SuperSport, we’ve also signed good players there is no doubt about that. We have Mahachi, Gabuza and we recently signed Section 10 [Qalinge]," continued the former Bafana Bafana player.
“All in all, the boys are ready to challenge for the league title and I know it will not be easy, but it is possible. All the teams prepared well during the pre-season and ours was also good because we had a good one in Polokwane and in Cape Town," he reflected.
“The results are coming nicely despite starting with a loss to Mamelodi Sundowns, all the PSL teams wanted to bag the first three points no matter how they play that was our story, but we could not because we faced a top side and these are the champions. However, I must praise the guys for their response," he stated.
“They did not concede against Pirates, they created chances about five or six chances and scored three, that is a good sign. That really showed character and we went on to face Bidvest Wits in the Cup, we continued to score and did not concede. But I spoke to the players that it’s still early days, they must keep their feet on the ground," revealed the Television pundit.
“This thing is a marathon and we have to keep fighting for wins. What is pleasing is that we created so many chances last season, but we didn’t convert and that is not the case this season," backed Mahlangu.
Speaking about the Bradley Grobler and Gabuza partnership, the Daveyton-born player expressed delight as the former Buccaneer is finally finding his scoring form.
“So far so good for us and the boys, I am very happy for Gabuza because we all know he experienced a lot at Pirates with the fans," he expressed.
“He was booed despite being a good player, a hard worker and I think he is finally bouncing back to his best and we hope he continues. I am confident he will do well with Grobler," he responded.
“It was good to see him on the scoresheet last weekend and he is in a good space now, no pressure but he plays for a big team that is always challenging for trophies. Based on statistics, SuperSport is the only club that has played so many domestic Cups in the past few seasons. He is definitely guaranteed a trophy here," stated the 39-year-old.
“To finalise on the game, I think Chiefs are favourites because they have secured two wins and I watched their games unlike us, who have one win in the league," he explained.
“Having said that, we have the ability and quality to beat them. Chiefs may have the advantage of playing at home, but they must not just relax because we are on fire,” concluded the legend.