Chiefs in the driving seat
Kaizer chiefs continued with their rich vein of form yesterday with a 1-0 win over Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus stadium yesterday. A first half own-goal by Wayne Arendse was enough to ensure that the Naturena based side collected all three points, for their seventh consecutive win. Though the season is just passed the halfway mark, Amakhosi seem to have kicked into gear at just the right time and with yesterday’s victory, they now lead second placed Sundowns by eight points, although the Tshwane outfit has a game in hand.
The Glamour Boys showed no signs of slowing down and with yesterday’s victory over a fellow title contender, it’s fitting to ask, can they be stopped? Although Sundowns started the season well, dismantling teams at will, their 2013/2014 ABSA Premiership title aspirations look to be a carbon copy of the last few seasons when they lead at halfway only to fade at the business end of the season. The Brazilians are winless in four matches. Chiefs’ arch-rivals Orlando Pirates are in the bottom half of the table and although they have five games in hand, they don’t seem to be up for the challenge. The Buccaneers have taken just one point from their last two games and look like a side that is suffering from the mental hangover of failing to win a trophy after being in three major cup finals this season already – that includes the CAF Champions League Final.
Perhaps the real challenge for Amakhosi will come from Supersport United and Bidvest wits. Like Downs, Supersport started the season well but went through a dip in form. However, what counts in Matsatsantsa’s favour is that they bought well in the current transfer market they will come out strong. Wits like Chiefs seem to have hit form at just the right time and even though Gavin hunt has down played their chances of winning the league, they look a formidable side.
The true test for Amakhosi will come next month when they begin their CAF Champions League campaign. George Maluleka is the only new signing to have been registered in time for their African Safari, which means that for Chiefs, the real challenge in defending their league title is likely come from their own participation in the Champions League. Do they have the depth in their side to juggle CAF Champions League commitments with the defence of their domestic league title? Time will tell.