Five reasons why Kaizer Chiefs will beat Mamelodi Sundowns
A new-look Kaizer Chiefs have begun 2018 looking dangerous and hungry‚ and could certainly beat Absa Premiership leaders Mamelodi Sundowns at FNB Stadium on Saturday night.
TimesLIVE has explored five reasons why Amakhosi can repeat their 2-1 defeat of the Brazilians at Loftus Versfeld on October 17‚ with another win this weekend:
1. Chiefs have found their scoring boots
Steve Komphela is encouraged by four goals in two games.
OK‚ it’s not a landslide‚ but it is a further sign that Chiefs‚ after two years of trying‚ are finally finding a sharp end to their rebuilding effort.
And when compared to the previous nine games‚ since the 3-0 Telkom Knockout victory against AmaZulu in Durban on October 28‚ where Amakhosi could only score four goals and win three times‚ it’s pretty close to a landslide.
That little bit of confidence from the 2-1 wins against Polokwane City and Baroka can go a long way as Chiefs enter such a big game against Sundowns.
2. The Castro‚ Ntshangase‚ Moon factor
Much of the confidence stems from the signings Chiefs have made.
Siphelele Ntshangase has shown an impressive swagger and arrogance on the ball since finally making that arrival he has craved for at the big club he always wanted to get to.
After so many years buried in the First Division‚ he’s hungry.
Leonardo Castro could not have made a better entrance than the superb strike slammed in to earn the winner as a substitute against Baroka on Sunday.
The ground shook. After a year being sidelined at Sundowns‚ he’s also ravenous.
Two such hungry lions‚ so sharp‚ can only have brought a buzz to Chiefs’ training sessions.
When a club finally makes big signings‚ it shows the existing players that they’re being backed in their efforts to win trophies‚ and lifts everyone.
Throw in young Ryan Moon finding his feet with two goals in three matches and it’s a revitalised forward line.
One gets the feeling all three need to start though to beat Downs. Will Komphela?
3. Amakhosi look rejuvenated as rebuilding and injecting youth starts to show fruition
Then throw in the injection of youth by Komphela over the past six months.
From Wiseman Meyiwa to Siyabonga Ngezana and Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya‚ plus Teenage Hadebe recovering from injury‚ this is a new-look Chiefs.
The Soweto giants finally look like they can have a bright future for the next seven or eight years after the painful rebuilding phase from the squad that won two doubles in three years under Stuart Baxter‚ but was ageing and needed a flamethrower taken to it.
4. Chiefs have a better defence
Right now‚ with the emergence of Hadebe‚ Ngezana‚ and Ntiya-Ntiya‚ Daniel Cardoso’s steady form‚ Philani Zulu adapting into a promising left-back‚ and some players coming back from injury‚ Chiefs have a lot of depth at the back.
So much so that a team concerned by a spate of injuries a few months ago‚ but for whom the youngsters and signings have really stepped up to the plate‚ felt comfortable loaning Lorenzo Gordinho to Bloemfontein Celtic.
Sundowns this season (17 goals conceded in 18 games)‚ especially in January‚ where they have let in eight in five‚ have been more porous than even a team who score so many goals‚ and play the high press‚ might be comfortable with.
Big games like Chiefs-Sundowns can be won on who can shut the other out defensively. Chiefs have conceded just 11 goals in 18 games‚ and they shut Downs out well at Loftus.
5. Sundowns might be overconfident
Downs coach Pitso Mosimane has taken note of 2018’s new Chiefs – of that‚ one can be certain.
But the Brazilians might not be able to help themselves basking in the positive light following a 3-0 win over Platinum Stars on Saturday where Downs should have scored so many more‚ and Mosimane’s own new toys he has to play with – Jeremy Brockie‚ Aubrey Ngoma and Gaston Sirino – looked to have awe-inspiring potential.
Third-placed Amakhosi‚ too‚ might have that little bit of an edge in motivation‚ needing the points to close the five-point gap on Downs.