Chiefs ended the 2019-20 Premier Soccer League season with a heart-breaking draw with Baroka FC which cost them the title, as they finished two points short of Sundowns’ championship-winning tally of 59 points.
Photo Credit:Muzi Ntombela.
Kaizer Chiefs will be seeking a revenge victory over Mamelodi Sundowns in their sights when the teams meet later today at FNB Stadium in the pick of the 2020-21 DStv Premiership’s opening round of matches.
A new era has dawned Amakhosi, with former Bidvest Wits manager Gavin Hunt taking the helm several weeks back. His first match in charge saw the Amakhosi come from a goal down to defeat Maritzburg United 2-1 in an MTN8 quarterfinal last weekend, thanks to a brace from Yagan Sasman.
Hunt was not afraid to throw Chiefs younger players into action and said he will continue to show faith in them going forward.
"These are the ones for the future. I've got a few more here. I'll keep blooding them and keep playing them,” said Hunt. "But we can't play them just for the sake of playing them. We've got to play them for the right reasons. It'll take hopefully not too much time.
Sundowns claimed a third successive PSL title in dramatic style when they overtook Chiefs on the final day of the 2019-20 campaign, though their success has led to the departure of highly-rated coach Pitso Mosimane, who has taken on arguably the biggest club job in Africa at Egyptian giants Al Ahly.
This leaves a strange scenario where Manqoba Mngqithi, Rhulani Mokwena and Steve Komphela have effectively formed a head coaching trio. Their tenure got off to an awful start last weekend when they were beaten 1-0 at home by Bloemfontein Celtic to exit the MTN8 – eliminating the chance to hold all four domestic trophies at the same time.
I think [against Celtic] there were a lot of positives. I believe we're beginning to play the way I want the team to play," explained Mngqithi. "The coaches have worked very hard in trying to make sure that we have the right balance and the shape in midfield and to be honest we looked very good but when we got punished... what can you say? You can't say you played well when you didn't win the match.”
He added, “At times we were nervy, anxious, understandably when you're playing the first match of the season, but I was impressed. There were a lot of positives in my opinion.”
In head-to-head stats, Sundowns and Chiefs have met in 70 league matches since 1985. The Amakhosi have claimed 28 wins compared to 22 for the Brazilians, while 20 matches have been drawn. The Soweto side has won 17 of their 35 home matches in the rivalry, suffering six defeats in the process.