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Wits have tough job

IN THE FRAME: Wits's Calvin Kadi is expected to be up to speed to take on Kaizer Chiefs tomorrow. Photo: Gallo Images
IN THE FRAME: Wits's Calvin Kadi is expected to be up to speed to take on Kaizer Chiefs tomorrow. Photo: Gallo Images

BIDVEST Wits coach Clive Barker is hoping to have key striker Calvin Kadi fit for his team's Absa Premiership fixture against Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium tomorrow evening.

Kadi's pace and strong running were missed when the Students were convincingly beaten 3-0 by Chiefs in the Nedbank Cup in Nelspruit last Saturday.

Barker said his side's top scorer, with six league goals, should be fit for the rematch against the league leaders.

"I hope he's going to come through our remaining training session and be fit to play against Chiefs because I think he's a very talented player," Barker said yesterday.

Chiefs have come back from the two-month break for the Africa Cup of Nations in increasingly fine form. Following a 0-0 draw against Mamelodi Sundowns they came from a goal down to beat Free State Stars 2-1, then were 3-1 winners over Black Leopards away from home.

"They're very confident, they've set the standard as far as quality of teams goes, and you've got to give (Chiefs coach) Stuart Baxter a lot of credit for that," said Barker of another former Bafana Bafana coach.

"They're the in-form team and that's the side we've got to break down and beat."

Barker said he expected his team to have learnt from some of their mistakes, and to give Chiefs a far tougher outing tomorrow.

"When I watched the replay of last weekend's match, I thought we were a lot closer than 3-0 might have suggested. That gives us hope and we've obviously worked very hard this week on things that we thought could influence the game."

Baxter rested some of his players who were in action for Bafana in the Afcon in the cup match, including top scorers Bernard Parker and Lehlohonolo Majoro, and central midfielder Reneilwe Letsholon- yane.

Barker said all the rotating and resting of players among many PSL teams had made it hard to plan against them.

"I think straight away when you plan you definitely take into consideration all the international players who have played for Bafana Bafana. Chiefs have a terrific blend where they can pull players off the bench like Parker and Majoro.

"They deserve their success. You need a good Kaizer Chiefs to have a healthy football league in this country. But, of course, that's where it ends in respect, and I think we'll go very close to turning this result around."

Tomorrow, with a return to league action and wary of a loss of form two matches before the Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates at FNB on March 9, Baxter is likely to field a starting XI closer to his strongest line-up.

Also tomorrow, Bloemfontein Celtic host last- placed Chippa United, whose increasingly unlikely chances of surviving relegation were boosted this week by the signing of ex-Manchester City and Portsmouth striker Benjamin "Benjani" Mwaruwari, at Botshabelo Stadium.

The Zimbabwean was convinced to sign for the struggling Cape side by the club's coach, countryman Wilfred Mugeyi, after interest from several PSL clubs.

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