Out with international football, Absa Premiership football is back this weekend, and it’s back with an encounter between defending champions and top-of-the-log Kaizer Chiefs, who host Mamelodi Sundowns at the FNB Stadium on Saturday. Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane might claim to not be under any extra pressure against Chiefs on Saturday but his team selection and performance will surely intensify without a positive result against the unbeaten league leaders. Mosimane will be aware that previous results will play no part when his side make a trip to Soweto on Saturday, but the fact remains they require a vast improvement to inflict defeat on Amakhosi.
For a team that always spends lot of money and are defending champions, the Brazilians’ performances of late leaves a lot to be desired. The last time Downs won a match was back in September, a 3-0 away win at Polokwane City (then followed three draws against Chippa United, Bidvest Wits and Mpumalanga Black Aces). The bad news for Sundowns will be that Chiefs skipper and number one goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune might make a suprise return and the fact that Chiefs had five players in the recent Bafana Bafana squad (four of them started against Nigeria) will not help matters for Ka Bo Yellow.
With that said, Chiefs will be wary of this Sundowns team which, by their lofty standards, have underperfomed this season. Sundowns have been here before. At some point last season, they trailed Chiefs by 11 points, but then again, can lightning strike twice? It’s unlikely.
Even if that were to happen, the Sundowns players would have to do their share and so far, Downs’ strikers have failed to deliver and facing a rock solid Chiefs defence that has only conceded four times in ten league matches can be a tough assignment for the men from Pretoria. Mosimane’s men will be happy though when they look back to the last time they faced Chiefs in a league match. The Brazilians were 1-0 victors in that match, thanks to a second half goal from Teko Modise.
The Brazilians lie in fifth position on the log and are 12 points off leaders Kaizer Chiefs. Stuart Baxter’s boys are still unbeaten in regulation time in all competitions thus far this season, but will it be Sundowns who spoil the party?