Tempers fray at bottom of table
A CUP tie between the premier league's two worst sides, AmaZulu and Mamelodi Sundowns, could yet produce a shock result, but the ramifications are likely to be felt days later.
While the management from both clubs have been immovable in their support for the two beleaguered coaches, Roger Palmgren and Johan Neeskens, another defeat, this time in Telkom Knockout quarterfinals at King Zwelithini Stadium tomorrow (3pm), could tip them over.
Palmgren lost his cool with reporters early this week when he was asked if he was encouraged by the backing he has received from the club even after registering one win in eight Absa Premiership matches.
"Do all of you want me to be kicked out?" he asked. "I will keep working for as long as I am there."
Usuthu general manager Peter O'Connor has hinted that the axe is looming over Palmgren's head, with 11 coaches having submitted their CVs to him. Usuthu are bottom of the log after eight league games, and, in Neeskens' own words, Sundowns are "just as bad". The Brazilians are two spots above AmaZulu, who they travel to on Saturday, with only goal difference separating them.
Neeskens said he continues to see improvements in his team notwithstanding Sundowns having won just three of their 12 games in all competitions, one of the club's poorest starts to a season.
"AmaZulu will not be easy to beat. They have drawn and won one of their past two matches, which is a big confidence booster for their players, especially the draw against Orlando Pirates," the coach said.
Neeskens has chosen to point out the positives, but the negatives are there for all to see. Strikers Eleazar Rodgers, Edward Manqele and Nyasha Mushekwi have never been so toothless in front of goal, while Sundowns will be without Punch Masenamela at left back.
To add to their woes, AmaZulu and Sundowns have found the back of the net only three times in the League and slipped to the quarterfinals of the Telkom Knockout as underdogs.