Kaizer Chiefs on mend
KAIZER Chiefs have shown glimpses of what they could offer next season but, more importantly, they have promised to reclaim their status as cup kings.
Amakhosi edged BidVest Wits 9-8 on penalties to win the pre-season Gauteng Cup tournament at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday, demonstrating their competitive spirit of old while also sending out a strong message of hope for a better season than last to their long-suffering fans.
Their Gauteng Cup victory provided a measure of how far Amakhosi have come in their preparations.
"I'm quite happy with the way we performed in this tournament. We've taken a lot more than victory from it," said Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter.
"But there's still a lot of work to be done. We identified areas we still need to work on to ensure we have made thorough preparations."
With a new-look defence, Chiefs look tighter at the back than at any time under Vladimir Vermezovic's rigidly drilled system.
Even strikers Bernard Parker and Lehlohonolo Majoro scored, finding the back of the net as Amakhosi thumped Moroka Swallows 3-0 in the semifinals. Baxter gave almost all his charges game time in the two matches, testing their fitness levels as he made five substitutions in the final match. Although they skinned Swallows in the semis, Amakhosi battled against Wits in the finals as they played to a goalless draw, leading up to the penalties. Baxter said: "We won't necessarily make new signings at the moment."
But the finals suggested a need for additional personnel in their strike force. Wits, on the other hand, walked off with their pride intact.
Apart from edging SuperSport United 1-0 in the semifinals, the Students showed up in the finals. Assistant coach Eric Tinkler was delighted with youngsters such as Denver Mukhamba and Ofentse Nato, who are punching above their weight, while the presence of senior players such as Aaron Mokoena and Tinashe Nengomasha will have a positive influence on the youngsters.