To maintain their dominance, Amakhosi will have to prevail over Pretoria sides Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United over the next two weekends.
They first come up against Sundowns in a league match at the FNB Stadium this weekend, seeking to stretch their lead over a side that breathes hard on their necks with just seven matches left in the season. It will be a battle of Zimbabweans brothers, as both sides have more than four in their ranks. Chiefs have Kingstone Nkhatha, Rusike, Knowledge Musona and Willard Katsande as their regular players, while Jimmy Jambo is still struggling to shake-off an injury he sustained last season.
The Brazilians on the other hand have Khama Billiat, Esrom Nyandoro and Cuthbert Malajila in their fold. Malajila remains injured, while Billiat has just returned from a similar lay-off and is still trying to win back his position from equally-explosive Lebohang Mokoena. Nyandoro has just returned into the playing fold and seems to be regaining his form again.
After their duel with Sundowns, Chiefs will have it tough again when they meet another Tshwane side, SuperSport United in the Nedbank Cup quarterfinals, again at the FNB Stadium. Ironically, the two sides won the last two editions of the tournament. United won the 2012-13 edition, while Amakhosi are the current defending champions.
Rusike declared just after the draw of the quarterfinal that Chiefs would defend their crown. Chiefs beat SuperSport 1-0 to win last year’s final and Rusike believes that will give them the edge over a side they have already beaten once in the league. “This is a major trophy and as the defending champions, we have to defend this trophy with our lives,” said Rusike. “We are happy with the draw because the reality is that the last eight will always be competitive, plus in this case we are glad that we have a home game. In the last eight every team has already shown that they are good and they made the last eight because they all deserve to be here.”
He said the Nedbank Cup quest would not affect their attempt at a rare second straight league crown. “We will definitely be able to compete in all the games, without doubt. I have heard most people mention that we have a tight schedule but at the end of the day, we are professionals and we have to get on with the job at hand.
“If we have games Wednesday and Saturday for six weeks in a row we have to stand up and do the job without mourning because this is our job after all. We are a big team and so we are approach every game with the intention of winning it.
We have an experienced squad so any player called up on the day to play has to deliver. I am happy with my contribution because I have been working hard to get back into the team and want to continue this way.”Post published in: Football