“At Kaizer Chiefs we are used to pressure,” says Amakhosi’s assistant-coach Doctor Khumalo ahead of the MTN8 final against Orlando Pirates in Durban on Saturday. “If you play for Chiefs, you need to have focus. One step wrong and you are out. That’s the culture and discipline of our Club to make sure that the supporters get what they deserve.”
The Amakhosi legend was speaking at a press conference at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, where the Cup final will be held (kick-off at 8:15pm).
Various questions were thrown at Chiefs’ assistant-coach. One of them was: “Will coach Stuart Baxter opt for Siphiwe Tshabalala or the in-form Mandla Masango in the starting line-up?”
Without giving anything away ahead of the final, Doctor reacts: “The beauty about this is that the competition for places in the First XI is high. The player that wants it most will earn his place in the team.”
Doctor, who won several Cups as a player wearing the Kaizer Chiefs jersey, also confirmed that goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune and striker Katlego Mphela will miss the MTN8 final due to their respective injuries. The following question was, of course: “Who will be in goal on Saturday – Reyaad Pieterse or Brilliant Khuzwayo, who kept goal in last weekend’s league encounter against AmaTuks?”
“We are content with our goalkeepers,” said Chiefs’ assistant-coach. “Both are ready and we will sleep well in the knowledge that they are both quality!”
Amakhosi’s last MTN8 Cup victory came in 2008 after beating Mamelodi Sundown on penalties. George Maluleka recently missed two penalties in the 2014 Carling Black Label Derby. Doctor, however, is not worried in case it comes to penalties again: “We told George afterwards that those things happen in football. That’s how the game goes. We have full confidence in him and any other player having to take a penalty.” Of course, Maluleka is presently showing splendid form.
When asked to whom of the Pirates-players special attention is given, Amakhosi’s assistant-coach answers with a twinkle in his eye: “We always give special attention to every aspect of the opponent as well as other areas of the game. We even give attention to the security officials…”
As a closing remark Doctor Khumalo added: “The fans mustn’t worry. We all know what is at stake. The preparations ahead of the MTN8 final have gone well and the players know what is expected of them.”