Chiefs handed a Royal thrashing

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Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Anthony Akumu tries in vain to stop Royal AM two-goal hero Victor Letsoalo while Tebogo Potsane and Kabelo Mahlasela look on during their DStv Premiership encounter at the FNB Stadium yesterday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Anthony Akumu tries in vain to stop Royal AM two-goal hero Victor Letsoalo while Tebogo Potsane and Kabelo Mahlasela look on during their DStv Premiership encounter at the FNB Stadium yesterday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

SPORT


It was a royal performance that the scriptwriters for the reality TV show Kwa Mam’Mkhize couldn’t have written better.

Royal AM brought their glitz and glamour to town as they upset Kaizer Chiefs with an emphatic 4-1 victory at the FNB Stadium last night.

It was a clash of the affluent teams as Shauwn Mkhize, popularly known as MaMkhize, painted Soweto red with her crew from Durban in KwaZulu-Natal.

The flamboyant club owner, her son Andile, who is Royal AM’s chairperson and their crew were in ecstasy in the grandstand as their team upstaged the Glamour Boys.

Striker Victor Letsoalo stole the show with a superb brace that gave his side enough breathing room to deny Chiefs any chance of a comeback. The Durbanites simply showed more hunger and Chiefs were hit with a sucker punch by the DStv Premiership rookies.

Royal coach John Maduka engineered the win over Amakhosi after they held them twice last season at Bloemfontein Celtic whose top-flight status Mkhize bought.

Letsoalo opened the scoring with a header in the 34th minute following stupendous defence-splitting cross from Levy Mashiane. He made it 2-0 with a brilliant free-kick in the 66th minute.

READ: Keagan Dolly: The goals will come once we make scoring a habit in training

Chiefs pulled a goal back through a Sifiso Hlanti free-kick in the 74th minute, only for Royal to extend their lead a minute later when a cross from Zukile Mkhize took a wicked deflection off Sibusiso Mabiliso’s foot. Mfundo Thikazi put the final nail in the Chiefs’ coffin with the fourth goal in injury-time.

It has been a torrid time for coach Stuart Baxter in his second stint at Chiefs.

As the last man to lead Amakhosi to silverware, the fans were hoping for immediate results. However, Baxter is still adjusting to working with the newly assembled team and admittedly doesn’t know most of them.

In explaining why Njabulo Ngcobo has not been playing, Baxter conceded that he had never seen the reining PSL defender of the season play. The 68-year-old coach has come under fire for not utilising Ngcobo and his namesake Nkosingiphile, arguably Amakhosi’s best player last season.

Baxter finally gave in to the pressure and gave Ngcobo his first start yesterday. But his inclusion in the line-up did little to improve Chiefs’ shaky defence though against the on-song Royal attack.

Samir Nurkovic’s poor form has not helped the team either and he has been caught in no man’s land on a few occasions. The Serbian was a free scorer last season but he has not found the net in four games this season.

Questions must also be asked of the defensive combination of Eric Mathoho, who was given the captain’s armband and Daniel Cardoso. The veterans have been exposed by opposition attackers on a few occasions and it may be time to reshuffle the formation.

The Chiefs attacking duo of Keagan Dolly and Khama Billiat, who had been combining well in previous games, was missing in action yesterday.

The pair offered no resistance against Royal yesterday and could do nothing to stop the humiliation. Dolly, especially had a poor match and could not make a simple pass at times.

After a turbulent start to life in the Premiership, Royal have found their feet after back-to-back wins.

Theirs was a much-publicised arrival to the top division due to the star power of MaMkhize and of course, the controversy of the GladAfrica Championship finish last season.

Much has been said about Royal in their debut season in the top flight but they are now answering their critics on the field of play.

Despite the absence of influential striker and skipper Ndumiso Mabena due to injury, they were able to pull one over the much-fancied Chiefs at home.


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Gomolemo Motshwane  

Sport journalist

+27 11 713 9001
gomolemo.motshwane@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
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