Makhaula dreads facing Chiefs' Molangoane for the first time since career-threatening tackle
New Highlands Park midfielder Makhehleni Makhaula says his heart will be “sore” when he comes face-to-face with Joseph “Tight” Molangoane for the first time since he broke the Kaizer Chiefs winger’s leg last year.
The hard-tackling Makhaula‚ who is notorious for his no-holds barred approach when he puts in tackles‚ nearly ended Molangoane’s career with the leg-breaking challenge during a MTN8 quarterfinal match in August last year when he was still playing for Free State Stars.
Highlands host Chiefs on the opening weekend of the new Absa Premiership season at Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa on Sunday (3pm kickoff) and the two players will be meeting for the first time since that August 11 incident.
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“I think we have talked over the phone with “Tight” but I have never met him in person after that.
"We talked on the phone and I apologised‚ but I want to apologise to him face to face when I see him‚” said Makhaula‚ who joined Highlands from relegated Stars.
“I think my heart will be sore when I see him.”
Molangoane was sidelined for the entire season and only fully recovered in the last couple of matches of the previous campaign.
Makhaula said flashes of him going in hard for that leg-breaking tackle‚ which he was not shown a card for‚ will come to his mind should he find himself on the pitch at the same time as the 31-year-old Molangoane.
Will Makhaula pull out of challenges?
“I don’t know if I am going to be hard on him or what.
"But I am an aggressive player in nature and that won’t change‚” asserted Makhaula.
“I think he also understands that we were in the line of duty and that injuries are part and parcel of the job that we do.
“If he plays I think flashes of what happened on that day will come back to my mind. I think questions like ‘will I injure him again if I go in hard?’ will be running at the back of my mind‚” said Makhaula.
The midfield hardman‚ who is likely to play an anchoring role behind Mothobi Mvala in the heart of the Highlands midfield on Sunday‚ said match-ups against Chiefs always bring out the best in him.
“It is a dream coming true every time I play against Chiefs because I know that it will push me to the limit.
“I’m not saying that I don’t get pushed when I play against other teams but with Chiefs there is that extra motivation to do well‚” said Makhaula‚ who played 29 matches in all competitions last season.
Highlands have the toughest of starts as their clash against Chiefs will be followed by an MTN8 quarterfinal match against Orlando Pirates in Soweto.
Makhaula said he believes they can get positive results out of the matches.
“We have to fight hard because playing it is tough playing Chiefs but from what I have seen from our preparation during preseason I think it is possible to beat both Chiefs and Pirates and have a great start.
“From what I have seen so far‚ everybody and every player knows his responsibilities and is determined to do well for the club.”