Amakhosi midfielder Happy Mashiane put up a stellar performance when Chiefs defeated Petro de Luanda in a CAF Champions League group C game this past Saturday. He was dynamic in attack and scored a well taken goal in the second half. He has now put a series of injury setbacks behind him and is looking at duplicating the showing he put against Maritzburg United on Wednesday evening when Chiefs travel to the Harry Gwala Stadium for a meeting with former coach Ernst Middendorp and his team.
Mashiane has a lot to be happy about now that he has passed through a number of fitness hurdles. “Coming back from injury was not easy,” he confirms, “I had to work hard to be in the starting line up again. I was fortunate enough to score a goal. I am working on being consistent and also trying to prevent injuries. I have been lucky because my injuries have been minor.”
Having received the boost that he needed by putting up a sterling performance in the CAF Champions League, the left footed player is now ready to take on a very determined Maritzburg side, who did manage to win when the sides met earlier in the campaign back in January.
“It won’t be an easy one, they beat us in the first round at home,” Mashiane admits. “We know that most of the teams don’t win maximum points at Harry Gwala Stadium. Playing against them and the fact that they are coming from a draw means it won’t be easy. They have a good team and they usually dominate in terms of keeping the ball using their speedy players.”
This match also throws up a clash between Chiefs and their former coach Ernst Middendorp who gave Mashiane his Chiefs first team debut in a Nedbank Cup clash in January 2019 when he was just 21 years old. The player says he respects the fact that the German mentor gave him his first team debut.
After playing two back-to-back matches in continental action, Mashiane believes the team is ready to switch to domestic matter. “It’s not easy but I won’t say this is what I signed up for. Juggling CAF and DStv Premiership games is tricky as the football and the conditions are not the same. It’s something that we have to work on,” he adds.
As he now plots an assault on three points in KwaZulu Natal, Mashiane believes the only way for Chiefs now is up and that they will do all it takes to change their current log position.
“It’s not a good thing that a big team like Kaizer Chiefs is 10th on the log,” he concludes. “We will take it one game at a time. What we always say is that we are the ones who put ourselves in this situation, so we have to start climbing up the log. The route upwards begins on Wednesday.”
Mashiane has featured in 12 games in all competitions for Chiefs this season, contributing with three goals including two in the league, which came in early January in back-to-back league wins against Cape Town City and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC. He will be looking to add to that tally on Wednesday evening when Chiefs are away to Maritzburg United. The game will kick off at 18:00 and will be live on DStv Channel 202