Giants Lock Horns In PSL Bout

  • Ninth on the Absa Premiership standings, a point behind Highlands Park, Siwelele will be out for blood against struggling Chiefs on Saturday.

Seventh-placed Kaizer Chiefs could end up losing their place in the top eight at the end of the season, at the rate they continue to drop points.

After squandering yet another chance to reach a 40-point tally after playing to a 1-1 draw against Golden Arrows at FNB Stadium midweek, Chiefs will now face confident Bloemfontein Celtic who come from an impressive victory against struggling Polokwane City.

The Soweto giants will hope to collect maximum points at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday in a match that was supposed to be played in Bloemfontein but was moved to Durban allegedly for security reasons. 

Without doubt, the Soweto giants go into this game with enormous pressure to collect maximum points while Celtic will derive much satisfaction with a point, having already collected maximum points in their previous encounter.

Chiefs have dropped nine points in their past four league outings, with three draws and one defeat. This situation has seen them holding onto seventh spot for a while now.

With only three matches to spare, Amakhosi are on 38 points and the maximum number of points they can achieve is 47. But, by the look of things, it’s highly unlikely that they can win all their last three matches, even though they are against struggling opponents – Bloemfontein Celtic, Free State Stars, and Chippa United.

Many have perceived Chiefs to be somehow complacent in the league amid their resurgence in the Nedbank Cup, where they’ll meet second-tier league’s TS Galaxy in the final at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on May 18.

With the team eager for a strong finish, starting with Siwelele, both Chiefs fans and coach were let down by the unavailability of Lebogang Manyama who will only be available to play against Free State Stars next week.

“Look it’s a huge disappointment because we had hoped he’ll be available to play against Celtic but we’ve been told that this will not be the case,” said Chiefs coach Middendorp.

Aware of the pressure to win, Middendorp said Celtic have done exceptionally well in collecting points both at away and home despite all their ongoing woes.

He acknowledged the Bloemfontein side has also given some of the biggest teams a run for their money after holding both league contenders; Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns to draws away.

“The determination is still very much there. When they are switched on, they have proven to be a force to be reckoned with therefore as much as we’ll be playing an attacking game from the first whistle, defensively we have to be extremely cautious to avoid being caught on a counter attack,” noted Middendorp.

Seated ninth on the Absa Premiership log, a point behind eighth-placed Highlands Park, Bloemfontein Celtic caretaker coach Lehlohonolo Seema said his side will not settle for anything less than maximum points.

“It’s important that people remember we are a professional team like any other team therefore whenever we play away, particularly against big teams in this country, the notion that a draw will be enough must stop. Like any other team, we are playing for maximum points and we’ve proven that indeed we are capable of beating anyone and collecting points on the road,” said Seema.

He pointed out there would be no complacency from his troops, saying the moral in the camp was positive. “Yes, like all the other games, it’s a big one for us and I am certain that we will get the maximum points we need to move up the log and achieve our objective of finishing in the top 8,” said Seema.

Fans will, without doubt, be treated to a thrilling encounter as both teams go out in search of three points that will see them moving up the leader.

By: Thapelo Molebatsi