The search for inspiration that will kick start their season takes Kaizer Chiefs to KwaZulu Natal this week, as Amakhosi take on AmaZulu in a league encounter this afternoon (15:00).
Almost one third into the season, the team that threatened to run away with the 2019/20 title can hardly get a goal, let alone a win in 2020/21. It was in March last year when Chiefs unexpectedly lost to AmaZulu that the wheels seemed to be coming off their campaign.
The lockdown only seemed to delay the inevitable collapse, and since football resumed in August, Chiefs have looked like a totally different team.
23 – Chiefs have conceded 23 top-flight goals since football resumed in the bio-bubble in August. Only Maritzburg (25) have conceded more in that time.
The collection of unwanted records is growing game by game. Seven points in the opening nine games is the worst start at this stage of a season for a Chiefs side in their PSL history. It’s also the worst for a side coached by Gavin Hunt since the 1998/99 season at Seven Stars (also 7). The likes of Njabulo Blom and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo were not yet born at this time.
Chiefs’ favorite fixture…
Yet, if there is one encounter that has brought joy to Chiefs’ faces in the PSL era, it is the one against Usuthu. Chiefs have lost only three league games to AmaZulu since 1996/97 and just one in the last 13 years. Chiefs’ record when they travel to AmaZulu is impeccable:
0 – Chiefs have not lost an away game to AmaZulu in all 17 of their PSL league meetings (W11 D6), their longest run without an away defeat to any PSL opponent.
Gavin Hunt will be pleased to have Samir Nurkovic back in action. The Serbian looked rusty in the game against Maritzburg United, but it should not be long until he starts scoring again. Now that Khama Billiat is out injured for a while, Nurkovic’s goals will be desperately needed.
7 – Seven goals in the opening nine games is Chiefs’ joint-lowest return at this stage of a PSL season (7 also in 2002/03 and 2008/09).
But will Benni McCarthy deny them again and get his first win as AmaZulu coach?
SuperSport United v Bloemfontein Celtic
Bradley Grobler is on course to break the late Abram Raselemane’s record when SuperSport host Celtic later on Wednesday. The striker equalled the 57-goal mark on the weekend, and is in the form of his life, having scored in five successive league games for the first time in his career.
0 – SuperSport are unbeaten in the last 10 league games against Celtic, winning two but eight of those matches have ended in a draw.
Tshakuma v Pirates
With one win in five league games, Orlando Pirates will be hoping the clash against TTM ends with a win they so desperately need before Sundowns and Swallows disappear into the distance.
Zinnbauer can take confidence from the fact that Pirates have lost just one of the last sixteen matches against sides that were new to the top-flight (W6 D9). Their record when travelling to the north of the country is another reason for optimism:
0 – Pirates are unbeaten in twelve away matches played in the Limpopo province (W6 D6 v Baroka, Polokwane and Black Leopards), dropping just two points out of 18 since the start of 2018/19.
By Opta Jabu