Chiefs, Amazulu battle for Top 8 spot

2008-03-21 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Amazulu coach Clive Barker says he will discount his team’s recent runaway 14-0 Nedbank Cup win over Young Ones, as he prepares to take on Kaizer Chiefs in the Easter Derby at King’s Park tonight.

“It’s nice to know my players have found their shooting boots while transforming almost every scoring opportunity into a goal against the Young Ones,” said the canny AmaZulu and former Bafana Bafana coach.

“But it would be naive not to accept we were playing against a team with limited experience — and it would be foolhardy to place too much importance on the runaway score.”

Indeed, Barker says he has drummed the message home to his players not to place too much importance on the 14-goal scoring spree — “because that could produce an element of complacency, which could be costly against a team of Chiefs’ calibre.”

Amakhosi, meanwhile, scraped to a more narrow 2-0 Nedbank Cup victory, against PSL log leaders Ajax Cape Town, than the scoreline suggests, but coach Muhsin Ertugral believes that the recovery road Chiefs have followed in their last three games remains firmly on track.

Intriguingly, Chiefs and AmaZulu, traditional rivals going back more than 35 years ago, are both currently positioned with 27 points in the Premier League table — with a superior goal-difference giving Amakhosi a modest 11th position and Usuthu one place worse off at 12th in the log.

While neither side is seriously threatened by relegation, three points could prove an essential commodity on this occasion for either side, in the quest to move to a more respectable standing and qualify for next season’s Top Eight tournament.

But, notwithstanding their indifferent form this season, Chiefs and Amazulu games have a reputation for rousing soccer and an equally rousing atmosphere — and the latest showdown should be no different.

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