Thu Apr 24 04:34:07 SAST 2014
Thu Apr 24 04:34:07 SAST 2014

Chiefs tread warily, Leopards confidence high

Mar 30, 2012 | Mazola Molefe |   172 comments

Amakhosi are struggling to win crucial games while Leopards have recently had a good run

MEN TO WATCH: Chiefs playmaker Siphiwe Tshabalala and Leopards striker Rodney Ramagalela

BLACK Leopards are a fairly easy draw for giants Kaizer Chiefs on paper.

In the reality of the Nedbank Cup's last 16, however, Leopards are like their namesakes in the bushveld: creatures to be feared.

To take the analogy even further, Leopards seem to have changed their spots in time to give the inconsistent Amakhosi a tough time tomorrow night.

Chiefs have breezed past Leopards at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, the venue for the weekend's cup clash - but that was in an Absa Premiership encounter in October when Amakhosi won 2-0.

Vladislav Heric is now in charge of Lidoda Duvha and - for the first time this season - Leopards moved outside the relegation play-off zone with a 2-1 win over Santos on Wednesday night.

At the other end of the Premier League table, Chiefs fluffed their chance to close the gap on leaders Mamelodi Sundowns when they were held to a goalless draw by Golden Arrows on the same night.

Amakhosi coach Vladimir Vermezovic is struggling to win crucial games while Heric and Leopards have recently had a good run, a sequence that has been highlighted by a good run in the African Confederation Cup.

The Limpopo team got past the tournament's preliminary round and are now in the first round.

They beat Saint Eloi Lupopo from Democratic Republic of Congo 4-2 in the first leg at the Giyani Stadium last Saturday, with the return leg set for next weekend.

Chiefs will be going up against a team whose confidence will be high.

Another interesting clash in the Nedbank Cup last 16 will be the KwaZulu-Natal derby between Golden Arrows and Maritzburg United at the Princess Magogo Stadium tomorrow afternoon.

Arrows are 12th on the log and Maritzburg 13th. Both teams have played 22 matches, are each on 24 points, with Arrows marginally ahead because of goal difference. They are equally matched, also, by their poor league standings.

On Sunday, Jomo Cosmos, who won only their second league match of the season on Wednesday night, host Platinum Stars at Sinaba Stadium.

Cosmos could be finding form in time to ready themselves for the last few weeks of the relegation zone, but Stars have had a better record since suspending coach Owen da Gama.

Stars are unbeaten in their last four league matches and thumped amateur side Dolphins 5-1 in the Nedbank Cup's round of 32.

SuperSport United travel to the GWK Stadium in Kimberley, where Sundowns registered a record 24-0 win over Powerlines FC, to take on United FC, but they are unlikely to achieve the same feat.

The former PSL champions last won a league match on February 18 against Golden Arrows, and that is also the last time SuperSport scored a goal in the league.

Penalties got them through the last 32 when they beat first division side Batau FC.

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