MOYAHABO M ABEBA
THEY are revered everywhere on the South African football firmament as the Soweto giants for their marauding nature, scintillating style of play and moral fabric among the legion of devotees who worship at the altar of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates conviction.
But there is something quite concerning in the two respective camps, leaving coaches Steve Komphela and Milutin Sredojevic, respectively of Amakhosi and the Buccaneers.
The two sides are currently bedevilled by injuries to several key players – much to the frustration of the technical staff.
Given the way Kaizer Chiefs commenced their 2017/18 league season, it will be easier said than done, nay impossible to stage a resilient comeback anytime sooner…
The state of affairs is compounded by injuries to several key players, making both Naturena and Mayfiar resemble hospital beds.
Komphela, whose Chiefs are struggling to make a significant impact, has been plunged into a defensive headache, resulting in him forced to deploy a makeshift defence unit.
Amakhosi are minus suspended Bafana Bafana international Erick Mathoho and fellow defenders Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Tsepo Masilela, Sibusiso Khumalo and Teenage Hadebe through injury, as well as strikers Ryan Moon and Emmanuel Letlotlo.
However, Komphela says he has faith in the Glamour Boys who have so far played to 1-all stalemate with Bloemfontein Celtic, 2-1 defeat to SuperSport United and a last minute 1-all draw against defending champions, Bidvest Wits.
Writing on the club’s website, Komphela said, “Any time you lose a squad member, it gives other players an opportunity to show their mettle.
“We will run lean and mean in defence, but luckily enough we have players capable to switch positions and change the formation when necessary.
“We are planning to start collecting maximum points. We just have to start scoring goals and the upcoming match present us with opportunities to do so.”
Chiefs’ arch-rivals, Pirates have provided an injury update on a number of players, including goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane, midfielder Thamsanqa Sangweni and winger Riyaad Norodien.
A report on the club’s official website stated that Mpontshane, who has been out since injuring himself during pre-season camp, was progressing well in rehabilitation. It’s was a matter of time before he got to compete for a place in the starting line-up.
According to the Bucs medical department, the 31-year old has been given the green light to work with the Biokineticist and start working on strengthening.
New signing Sangweni is continuing with treatment for a knock sustained to his knee in Pirates’ first game of the season against his former club Chippa United.
Norodien has started running again after having a moonboot removed, but is still some way off being able to compete for a starting berth.
Meanwhile, Nkosinathi Mthiyani is recovering from a knee problem, Lehlohonolo Mtshali has started training with the side as he makes his way back from a groin complaint, while Yusuf Maart is on an assessment after spraining an ankle in a MultiChoice Diski Challenge clash with AmaZulu.