COMMENT: Kaizer Chiefs title talk premature after Polokwane defeat

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Samir Nurkovic Khama Billiat Lebogang Manyama - Kaizer Chiefs
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Amakhosi hit a new low last season when they ended the term empty-handed, and their fans are desperate for rejuvenation...which seems no closer

Kaizer Chiefs’ undefeated run in their first four league matches of the new PSL season sparked talk that they were on their way back to the old glory days.

After beating Highlands Park, Black Leopards and Cape Town City, as well as sharing the spoils with SuperSport United, Chiefs appeared poised for a return to the upper echelon of South African football after last season's ninth-placed finish.

The fine run captured hearts of Chiefs fans and neutrals alike and heightened talk that they can end a four-season barren run without the league title.

However, Polokwane City put the brakes on the optimism with a 1-0 win over Ernst Middendorp’s side at FNB Stadium on Saturday, providing a serious reality check for Chiefs.

Despite the defeat, Amakhosi remain on top of the standings, but are still yet to inspire confidence that they are championship material.

An unconvincing showing by Chiefs in that defeat exposed their previous positive results, as Polokwane City did not need to labour much to victory.

Ernst Middendorp, Kaizer Chiefs

The desperation by Chiefs fans to witness their team win the league title this season is understandable given that Amakhosi failed to win a single trophy last term.

That was a new low for one of South African football’s giants, so a run of positive results can easily amplify hope among the Chiefs faithful, while simultaneously papering over the cracks and covering up some of the Amakhosi's ongoing failings.

They could have beaten Highlanders Park, Leopards and Cape Town City, but they were far from brilliant in those games and it was inevitable that their bubble would burst.

There were still signs that the Amakhosi weren't yet ready to maintain their fine form.

Judging from their campaign so far, Amakhosi’s Achilles Heel in their quest for league glory may well prove to be their strikeforce.

A blunt frontline has also been Chiefs’ biggest undoing in recent past seasons, so to the ordinary observer, nothing has changed at the club and there is little to warrant high hopes for an improved season.

Khama Billiat Kaizer Chiefs August 2019

Of Chiefs' seven league goals, three have come from two forwards, including a brace by Lebohang Manyama in their league opener against Highlands Park.

Serbian striker Samir Nurkovic is the only other striker to have found target for Chiefs’ five games so far this season.

This places central defender Erick Mathoho, who has two goals to his name, as the club's joint highest scorer.

Another centre-back Daniel Cardoso and midfielder Kearyn Baccus are the other players to have scored for Chiefs with a goal each.

Zambia international striker Lazarous Kambole arrived at Naturena in June this year widely expected to become a double-figure scorer, but is struggling to find his feet, with Chiefs fans beginning to doubt whether the former ZESCO United man has what it takes.

Kaizer Chiefs striker Lazarous Kambole July 26 2019

Star man Khama Billiat has failed to find rhythm in the three matches he has featured so far, while Colombian striker Leonardo Castro has found himself below the pecking order, becoming a permanent feature on the bench.

With their seven goals scored so far, Middendorp’s side are the fourth highest scorers on the table below SuperSport United, Bloemfontein Celtic and Cape Town City.

However, their return to date belies a lack of convincing offensive options, and this was evident against Polokwane.

Also concerning for Chiefs is a defence which has conceding five goals, averaging a goal per match.

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The impotence in front of goal and a loose defence are common characteristics of Kaizer Chiefs in the past few seasons, and to date, it appears like very little has changed.

While on one hand they were unable to break down a well-drilled Polokwane defence, they were also exposed at the back by lowly Highlands Park and have kept just one clean sheet in competitive matches since the end of March.

Middendorp could, however, say that his charges need more time to prove their mettle, but even before this weekend's defeat, Chiefs had done very little to convince anyone that they are title favourites.

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