Can Chiefs stand the heat?

2015-03-15 15:00

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Premiership title now up for grabs as Amakhosi’s poor form takes it toll

Kaizer Chiefs have scored just one goal in their last five league games.

According to the stats, they won one, drew two and lost two – conceding three goals along the way.

This has cast doubt over a side that looked like runaway champions not so long ago.

After suffering their second defeat of the season against Maritzburg United midweek, Amakhosi’s title credentials have come under even more scrutiny.

If anything, Chiefs’ loss has opened the title race – with the chasing pack of Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits in with a statistical chance of winning.

Although the log standing shows an eight-point gap between Chiefs and Sundowns, it is Amakhosi’s recent form that will give their supporters a few sleepless nights over coming days.

At the pace with which Sundowns are progressing, the gap could be reduced to five points, as the defending champions have a game in hand.

The title race has kept everybody – especially neutral parties – on the edge of their seats.

The Chiefs faithful may not openly admit it, but they are definitely missing striker Kingston Nkhatha, who is now with SuperSport United.

Letting the Zimbabwean hit man go might have been a good business decision for Chiefs – but it was certainly not a good tactical move.

Although Nkhatha sometimes bore the brunt of the fickle Chiefs fans, he was at least effective, as he kept defenders busy.

Coach Stuart Baxter now has to take the flak, as strikers Matthew Rusike and David Zulu have not provided power up front.

Unlike their competitors, Chiefs were not active on the transfer market.

Over the past two seasons they have mostly promoted players from their development structures.

They have shown boundless optimism to bring in Siphelele Mthembu and Zulu, but now they hardly get game time.

Meanwhile, Sundowns are peaking at just the right time – just as they did on their way to winning the title last season. The Brazilians are evidently a second-round team.

Thanks to coach Pitso Mosimane’s Zimbabwean connections, Khama Billiat and Cuthbert Malajila, scoring freely, they have made the title race gripping and more enjoyable to watch.

If Chiefs continue at their current rate, they could end this season as they did the last – leading for the better part of it but without a strong enough showing to claim full honours at the end.

Although they are on course to break the current Absa Premiership record of 65 points Sundowns set last season, Amakhosi’s recent performances have left much to be desired.

So, much to everyone’s surprise?...?yet again – it’s game on!

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