The nations capital awaits an intriguing DStv Premiership spectacle this afternoon (15:00), as the champions Mamelodi Sundowns welcome a reborn Kaizer Chiefs outfit.
Both teams come into this tie on 4 points and with little to separate them. But, it is the events off-field and within the media zones that has caught the interest of the football public. A myriad of mind-games, frantic drama and tactical battles has bitten this writer ahead of this match.
As a principle, FARPost’s Technical Study Group (TSG) will look deeply at all these factors and their implications leading to this league encounter.
1. History of the match
An analysis of this match between these bitter rivals have served different outcomes. But, a closer inspection of the two previous meetings between Chiefs v Downs in (Pretoria & league) has provided a significant indicator.
The results of the prudent analysis showed that Chiefs have beaten Downs on the two previous occasions away from home (0-2 & 0-1). In fact, Chiefs demolished Sundowns’ impeccable winning streak in the previous season and became the only side to beat the champions.
2. Baxter factor
Since the return of Stuart Baxter at Naturena, Chiefs’ revival momentum has been visible. A structured mantra, tactical attacking blueprint and strategic transitional play has been imprinted.
Chiefs have a settled starting line up as compared to the previous confusion under Gavin Hunt. The Brit has mixed youth with experience, and has been bold to ramp changes if necessary.
3. Downs pedigree
Downs are the serial champions of South Africa. Their pedigree, array of stars and playing model is a marvel to behold.
This season they have began the defence of their crown a bit slow and jittery. Still, under the three coaches their swift possession game, intelligent interplay and succinct rotational schemes has been perfected to immense detail. Regardless of who plays, the playing philosophy has been respected and modified as required.
Baxter has come out to diffuse this match as “not-a-must-win”. In the opposite dugout the motormouth Rulani Mokwena has praised Baxter as a role model and highlighted Chiefs’ transformation under the Brit.
These mind-games deliberations and exchanges signifies a match delicately poised for drama and twists.
5. Drama at Downs
Speaking of drama and twists, Downs camp has recently experienced this motion. Unconfirmed reports from certain quarters of the print media, have declared some instability and rumblings with the champions’ den.
Mokwena has come out to agree (partly) with the rumours. But, the magnitude of this game, centred around pride, bragging rights, points to an opportunity to send a clear message to all antagonists, will surely unite the technical bench.
By FARPost Technical Study Group