Crisis at Chiefs ahead of semi-final

2009-08-20 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Kaizer Chiefs have a goalkeeping and goal-scoring crisis ahead of Sunday’s crunch MTN8 semi-final, second-leg clash against Ajax Cape Town at the Orlando­ Stadium (3 pm).

New Amakhosi coach Vladimir Vermezovic will be minus his Bafana Bafana star keeper Itumeleng Khune for three months after Khune was injured during their 1-0 defeat by Ajax Cape Town at Newlands in the first leg of the semi-final clash.

Khune’s deputy, Thela Ngobeni, was deputised during Tuesday night’s 1-0 loss to champions SuperSport United in their second Absa Premiership fixture played at Atteridgeville’s Super Stadium.

That defeat left Chiefs with one point from two matches and no goals. Chiefs have not scored in their past three league and Cup games, and go into Sunday’s second leg against Ajax at the Orlando Stadium, short on confidence and form.

Making matters worse is Ngobeni, the promising South African U20 goalkeeper, who will be in action for his country at the African Youth Cup in Egypt next month.

That means that Chiefs, who sold former Bafana keeper Emile Baron to SuperSport in the off season, do not have an experienced player to fall back on.

“There is no mercy in this game, but we have to fight through this,” said Vermezovic.

Chiefs are also short on strikers and once again the “boo boys” got stuck into Kaizer Motaung Jnr on Tuesday night, which is slowly but surely killing the 28-year-old striker’s fragile confidence.

The booing started in the Vodacom Challenge in Durban against Manchester City in July.

Motaung missed two sitters against SuperSport, which has not helped his confidence.

“I had two fit strikers in Kaizer and Knowledge Musona for this match as the others are all injured or sick.”

Vermezovic admitted that he is worried about getting the likes of experienced strikers Jose Torrealba, Nkosinathi “Chippa” Nhleko and Tsepho­ Bulu ready for Sunday.

“It is going to be tough. We know what we are up against when we face Ajax and we need to show all our fighting spirit.”

United coach Gavin Hunt was happy­, but admitted that his side can play better.

“I never really felt threatened, even after half-time when Chiefs changed tactics and pinned us back for a bit.

“They never looked like scoring, but we did not play as well as we can. It was not our best display.”

Hunt’s side are unbeaten after two matches with three points and he is pleased that his new signing, Siyabonga­ Nkosi, scored the only goal — a 23rd-minute header against his former club.

“I played Nkosi in a more attacking role against Chiefs and it worked, but I had to replace him midway through the second half as his legs were gone, but he had already done his job and I was delighted with his goal,” said Hunt.

Hunt said that his new Ugandan striker, Brian Umony, who came on in the second half, showed plenty of promise.

“He is still not used to our style of play, and it will take time, but he is going to be a big asset to us this season. He certainly has the ability to make an impact for us.”

Hunt said that he was pleased to pick up three points off Chiefs and keep a clean sheet. He also praised his two Bafana central defenders, Bongani Khumalo and Morgan Gould.

“Strikers win matches, but it is defenders such as Khumalo and Gould who win league titles.” — Sapa.

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