Philani Zulu calls for consistency as Kaizer Chiefs push for a higher finish
Kaizer Chiefs utility player Philani Zulu says the mood in the Amakhosi camp is jovial following their morale-boosting victory over Premiership leaders Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus on Sunday.
The 28-year-old Pietermaritzburg-born left-footed defender, who can also play in midfield, believes the win can spur the team into some form of consistency in the remaining matches of the season.
Chiefs beat Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates on March 21 and then drew their next two matches against Stellenbosch and Baroka, before crashing to a home defeat to Cape Town City last week as they continued to struggle for consistency.
Amakhosi showed they can turn on the style when they want as they came from behind to beat rampant leaders Sundowns 2-1 at the weekend, and in the process also ended the champions' 22-match unbeaten run in the league.
Zulu is confident they will not crash to another disappointing defeat immediately after an exhilirating win just as they did following their victory over Pirates last month.
AmaKhosi host relegation-threatened Chippa United on Wednesday and Zulu believes they will not go down the now all too familiar path as they welcome a side that has had their number in recent matches.
“Our spirits are very high and as players we want to continue with the form and not go back to winning [this match] and not performing in the following matches,” said the former Maritzburg United left-back ahead of the 3pm kickoff at FNB Stadium on Wednesday.
“As much as it is not going to be easy against Chippa, because they are fighting for their lives, we are also pretty much in the same space, so we are taking all the positives.
“We just need to work a little bit harder to make sure that we are on the front foot.”
Coach Gavin Hunt’s charges, who are languishing in mid-table in eight position in the 16-team DStv Premiership on 28 points with seven games to go, face Tshakuma and Swallows in their next matches after the Chippa encounter and Zulu said their remaining matches have become must-win outings as they push for a higher finish on the log.
But the problem is that they have won just six of their 23 league matches this season, drawing 10 and losing seven, in a campaign that will not please the ever-demanding millions of the Amakhosi fans.
“All that we have to do [against Chippa] is to rectify our errors and correct our mistakes, and work more on the positives and what could help us in winning all the games that are remaining.
“We need to win all the game that are remaining and that is the focus.”
Chippa, who are 15th on 18 points from 24 matches and are only three points ahead of bottom club Black Leopards, were held to a goalless draw at home by high-flyers Lamontville Golden Arrows in Gqeberha on Sunday and are set to face an uphill battle against a confident Chiefs side.
Chippa roped in Vladislav Herić as “technical advisor” last week in the hope that the Serbian coach can save the club’s threatened Premiership status.
The Eastern Cape-based team make the long trip to Johannesburg for this confrontation with Chiefs and Herić said after their match against Arrows he is concerned about the freshness of his thin squad, or the lack thereof, ahead of the Gauteng journey.
“First of all we need to refresh the players so we will try to get the players fresh for the [Chiefs] game, which is not going to be easy,” said the 58-year-old journeyman coach.
“You must have 50 players if you are going to play Chiefs. It’s like that.”