Chiefs want to bounce back

2015-08-12 06:00
KEY: Erick Mathoho of Kaizer Chiefs will play a pivotal role for his club on Sunday.               
Richard Huggard

KEY: Erick Mathoho of Kaizer Chiefs will play a pivotal role for his club on Sunday. Photo: Richard Huggard

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KAIZER CHIEFS have a chance to put their disappointing weekend result behind them when they face Bloemfontein Celtic this weekend.

The two giants meet in a potentially explosive MTN 8 semi-final clash at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Sunday (16/08) at 15:00.

Amakhosi were held to a goalless draw by Chippa United who played with ten men for the better part of their league encounter in Port Elizabeth on Sunday (09/08). United’s Joseph Molangoana was sent off after receiving his second yellow card in the first half of the match.

Chiefs will be looking to bounce back straight away against a Celtic side who will prove to be a hard nut to crack on home soil.

The last time these two clubs met in a cup match was in the Nedbank Cup on 13 April 2013 at the same venue and Chiefs emerged as 1-0 victors, thanks to an own goal by Dominic Isaacs who looked to clear a powerful Siphiwe Tshabalala corner kick, but he could only manage to direct the ball into the back of his own net.

However, the sides have made a lot of changes since then in terms of playing personnel and coaching staff.

At the time, Chiefs were being coached by Stuart Baxter who left the club at the end of last season. Now the club is being coached by Steve Komphela.

On the other hand, Clinton Larsen, who was in charge of Celtic for that particular encounter, will be sitting on the bench again on Sunday. Players such as Tefu Mashamaite, Siyabonga Nkosi, Kingston Nkhatha and Lehlohonolo Majoro have since left Chiefs. On the flip side, Thabo Nthethe, Tsietsi Mahoa, Limbikani Mzava, John Arwuah and Isaacs, as well as many other players, are not part of Celtic anymore.

Defender Siboniso Gaxa knows that Celtic, at home, can hurt you if you give them room to recover. But he is positive Chiefs will win the first leg of the competition.

“To start at home or away is the same thing, we just have to win the game against Celtic,” said Gaxa.

“If people think we miss last season’s defensive combination, then that’s a personal opinion. We will continue to work hard and we play the brand of football that we always play at Kaizer Chiefs,” he added.

Meanwhile, Phunya Sele Sele, who were brought down 3-2 by Polokwane City on Sunday, will be looking to return to their winning ways at the expense of Chiefs.

“We don’t fear Chiefs, but we respect them,” said Bevan Fransman, Celtic captain.

“Just like Sundowns, and any other team, we respect our opposition, but don’t fear them. We will go into the encounter with only one thing on our mind and that is to win the game.

“They are the defending champions and they won’t make things easy for us at all, but we are ready to go all the way into the final,” concluded Fransman.

In the other semi-final, Ajax Cape Town welcome Bidvest Wits to the Coetzenberg Stadium on Saturday. Kick-off is at 20:15

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