Lebogang Manyama warns Orlando Pirates to expect a different Kaizer Chiefs
Lebogang Manyama has predicted Kaizer Chiefs will be back to their best come Saturday in a huge Soweto derby at FNB Stadium for them and opponents Orlando Pirates.
Seldom can so much have been at stake in a recent derby as in Saturday’s match-up between Absa Premiership leaders Chiefs and third-placed Pirates‚ which was sold out weeks in advance.
The script is that Chiefs – hitting wobbles in form and under immense pressure to reverse four seasons without a trophy in their 50th anniversary season – will choke against an in-form Pirates who have made a charge to be title dark horses under new coach Josef Zinnbauer.
Manyama said he thinks another movie will be screened. The player pointed out that Chiefs’ defeat against Highlands Park that saw them booted out of the Nedbank Cup on penalties on Saturday came against a renowned physical team‚ on a poor pitch‚ and in a torrential downpour in the second half.
Manyama was reminded about when he and Chiefs team-mates George Maluleka and Khama Billiat played scintillating football for Ajax Cape Town under Foppe de Haan‚ blowing the in the 2010-11 season on the final day to Pirates.
“That was like 10 years ago – how many coaches have we gone through‚ different teams and different pressures [since then]?” the midfielder said.
“With due respect to Ajax‚ you cannot compare the pressure there to what you have at Chiefs.
“At Chiefs‚ not sadly so‚ at the end of the day winning and winning and winning is the most important thing. A point feels like a loss.
“Sometimes‚ as the coach [Ernst Middendorp] has said‚ we’ve played not our best and won. Sometimes we played some of our best games and won. That’s how football is.
“And it happens – eventually you’re going to lose. In some games‚ like this one this weekend‚ I’m sure it will be a very different performance because you’re playing opponents who also want to play.
“So‚ also you must kind of look at who we’re playing. To make an example of it – last week we played a team who had seven natural defenders in the starting line-up.
“I mean‚ if you say you want to play football on a pitch like that‚ and in those conditions‚ I don’t know man – it’s kind of difficult.
“But‚ ja‚ that’s how football is. And ja‚ come Saturday I think we’re ready to give a much better performance as a team.”
Chiefs are probably due a few goals. Their reliance on the set-piece – Manyama the chief deliverer – has become a question mark in their defeats against Highlands‚ and before that at home in the league to Maritzburg United‚ the result that saw Amakhosi’s lead slashed from nine to four points.
Manyama must have swung in more than 20 corners and free-kicks in those defeats‚ but Chiefs profited only twice.
Perhaps it has become all a bit telegraphed‚ and teams must certainly be preparing for it. But Chiefs are good at the set piece. And coach Ernst Middendorp can come up with surprises in formations and line-ups in big matches.
The derby is known for going against form. Pirates‚ six points behind Amakhosi‚ would to well to remember that.
Maritzburg United v Stellenbosch FC (Harry Gwala Stadium‚ 8pm)
Lamontville Golden Arrows v Highlands Park (Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium‚ 3.30pm)
Orlando Pirates Kaizer Chiefs (FNB Stadium‚ 3.30pm)
Chippa United v AmaZulu (Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium‚ 6pm)
SuperSport United v Bidvest Wits (Mbombela Stadium‚ 8.15pm)
Polokwane City v Black Leopards (Old Peter Mokaba Stadium‚ 3.30pm)
Bloemfontein Celtic v Baroka FC (Dr Molemela Stadium‚ 3.30pm)