IT’S an afternoon that will spark fireworks.
Not fireworks to welcome the new year, but because temperamental coaches – Benni McCarthy and Gavin Hunt – will sit opposite each other, as AmaZulu and Kaizer Chiefs battle for points in one of the three DStv Premiership matches at 3pm.
This past weekend Chiefs suffered an embarrassing 2-0 loss to Ernst Middendorp’s Maritzburg United, while Usuthu welcome Amakhosi at the Jonsson Kings Park Stadium on the back of a 1-1 draw against Bloemfontein Celtic.
Now today’s match makes for a humdinger as points are crucial at this stage of the season, but whoever deserves maximum points will have to apply their A-game.
Unfortunately for Chiefs, Hunt will miss an important tool upfront following the unexpected injury to Khama Billiat, who has cracked a leg bone and will be out for two months.
But Chiefs’ No.1 goalie, Daniel Akpeyi, has calmed the situation and told their fans not to panic. Akpeyi promised fans that they will turn things around, but whether it will be against AmaZulu today or some other time, will be guesswork.
Fact, Chiefs have been struggling in the league this season under Hunt, and they look like a shadow of the team that fell agonisingly short of winning the league in the last game of the 2019-20 season under Middendorp.
They are closer to the bottom of the DStv Premiership standings than they are to the top, with some fearing the Soweto giants are in danger of getting relegated, as improbable, as that may sounds.
But the log table reads that the mighty Amakhosi are just a solitary point from the dreaded danger zone, having managed to pick up just seven points from nine matches.
Akpeyi, however, insists that a club of Chiefs’ size could never be relegated and has pleaded with their supporters to have faith in the team and believe they have what it takes to turn their situation around for the better.
“It’s only normal for everyone to be panicking about our situation at the moment because it does not look good,” admitted Akpeyi.
“It looks like things are not coming right. This is a big team and a big brand and we don’t want to disgrace ourselves and embarrass the club.
“But I am sure that this team can’t be relegated.
“The response of the players will show this, we are ready to turn things around.
“Relegation is not something we are panicking about at the moment. It is not something that should be associated with such a big club.
“We have not been happy with ourselves. We have been down since the beginning of the season. The changing room has been like a cemetery, very cold. But we have to change that in the next match.”
Akpeyi reckons Amakhosi will come good against AmaZulu.
“I think we have not been coming right with our decisions in games, but I don’t want to get into the tactics right now,” added Akpeyi.
- AmaZulu v Kaizer Chiefs (Jonsson Kings Park Stadium, 3pm)
- SuperSport United v Bloemfontein Celtic (Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium, 5pm)
- Tshakhuma FC v Orlando Pirates (Thohoyandou Stadium, 5pm)