Kaizer Chiefs dream start to the new season came to an abrupt end after Polokwane City snuck a 1-0 win. Now suddenlty Ernst Middendorp will be under severe pressure as is always the case with the Soweto Giants.
Meanwhile, there was some respite for Rulani Mokwena iafter he got his first win as coach of Orlando Pirates.
We’ve got the biggest talking points after another action-filled weekend of football.
Itumeleng Khune has been out since December 2018 with a shoulder injury. The Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeping situation since then has been calamitous, to put it mildly. He was cleared to play about a couple of weeks back but coach Middendorp has continued to begin games with Daniel Akpeyi. The Nigerian keeper has played well in the four league games he started this season, but anyone who knows Daniel Akpeyi knew it was only a matter of time until he did something… Well, stupid.
In the early moments of Saturday’s game, the Kaizer Chiefs keeper made a daft tackle on a Polokwane City forward that cost Amakhosi a penalty. Jabu Maluleke converted and that solitary goal was enough to hand Chiefs their first loss of the season. We cannot place all the blame on Akpeyi. Everybody makes mistakes. It’s just that when keepers make them they usually cost their team goals.
Itumeleng Khune isn’t prone to such brain farts. When fit he is the best keeper in the league. Akpeyi was given his chance and played okay but his presence between the sticks is too much of a risk.
We already spoke about their goalkeeping situation but what I’ve been talking about for months now is their lack of depth in other areas of the pitch.
Chiefs‘ backline has two good fullbacks but their centreback pairing is suspect. Middendorp insists on playing 34-year-old Bernard Parker big minutes but I don’t blame him because his alternatives going forward are: a good but naive Dumisani Zuma and Leonardo ‘why-is-this-guy-still-at-Kaizer-Chiefs’ Castro. Khama Billiat started on the bench on Saturday, I don’t know what’s that about, and they have a striker Samir Nurković who is still learning how to play in the PSL.
Again, you could say this is only one game in which they were unlucky but, I could counter that by saying Chiefs didn’t play well in their game against SuperSport United and probably deserved to lose on the balance of play. It isn’t time to panic yet but I’d be worried.
Orlando Pirates get their first victory in seven games in all competitions with their 2-1 win against Chippa United on Saturday night. Tiger Woods once said: ‘ winning solves everything’. This is true, one win could give people amnesia of how a team had been playing in the last half a dozen games. I, however, have a long memory and it’s not like Orlando Pirates played well against Chippa United anyway.
For starters, I don’t understand the formation coach Rulani Mokwena has the team playing. His players seem confused too, some of them are playing (quite a few actually) out of position in what seems to be a 2-5-2-1 formation.
They weren’t threatening in the first half and they were holding on for dear life in the last 7 minutes of the game. Let’s not forget they were up against a Chippa United side that is one bad result from their coach being unemployed. Better teams will expose their shoddy backline and repel their weak attack.
If you’ve read any of my writing in the past five years you’d have the sneaky suspicion that I hate Gabuza. I don’t hate him, I just don’t think he is good at this football thingy he gets paid to do. After his blistering start at Supersport United, Thamsanqa Gabuza has me smelling the sweet aroma of humble pie and I’m probably two goals away from digging in.
Gabuza has now scored four in seven games this season. He netted another goal this weekend, a turnaround left-footed hammer from a tight angle. The finish was good but what impressed me was his first touch; it cushioned the ball to a position where he wanted to strike it. I’m not going to jump off the Gabuza hate train yet but if he keeps playing this way, I promise to start the ‘Gandaganda Fan Club’ group on Facebook.
Watching him play, watching his runs, and finishing there is a sharpness and calmness about him now. He doesn’t look to decapitate the keeper when he gets an opportunity like he used to. He is composed and relaxed when picking his spot and tucking the ball into the back of the net.
Should he score anything more than 15 goals this will be a great season for him. Let’s hope Mamelodi Sundowns don’t come sniffing around Supersport United till then because we all know what happens when they get a hold of players.
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