Kaizer Chiefs scored a much-needed, morale-boosting 3-2 victory over Cape Town Spurs on Wednesday night, three days before the highly anticipated Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates on Saturday.
Amakhosi had been on a terrible slump in the league, losing their last two encounters against Cape Town City and Golden Arrows. Morale was at an all-time low and Wednesday’s victory, achieved in a match that was closed for spectators, came very handy for the entire Chiefs family. Chiefs were banned from having supporters at the game, after a series of violent scenes from a section of their frustrated fans in previous matches.
Chiefs interim coach Cavin Johnson will now face the improving Pirates with a squad that is brimming with self-confidence after getting back to winning ways.
Spurs were hoping to do the double on the Soweto giants after they were able to break their virginity in the DStv Premiership when they nailed Pirates 2-1 in Cape Town last week. That win meant that it was the first time that Spurs collected any points after failing to get a single win or a draw for eight matches in a row.
Chiefs came into the Spurs match with all to play for. They had been off for 10 days due to the Carling Knockout cup last weekend. So, in his second match in charge, Johnson brought in Itumeleng Khune, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, Mduduzi Shabalala, Given Msimango and Christian Saile into the starting line-up in his preferred 4-3-3 formation.
What is going to delight throngs of Amakhosi fans is that Johnson has brought back Chiefs’ young dribbling wizards back into the fray after their frustrating spell on the bench under the previous coach Molefi Ntseki. Against Spurs, they bossed the midfield and kept the Capetonians on the backfoot for most parts of the game.
Johnson’s counterpart Sean Connor opted for a more fluid, tried and tested 4-4-2 layout that had the Chiefs defence back-tracking as early as the first whistle. The visitors were able to put Chiefs under tremendous pressure right through, until the end of the match.
Chiefs opened the scoring via the boot of Edson Castillo before Ranga Chivaviro made it 2-0 in the 25th minute. Spurs’ forward Luvuyo Phewa reduced the deficit to 2-1 just before half-time. After the break, Saile increased the scoreline to 3-1 before 17-year-old Luke Baartman made it 3-2 with a powerful shot on the stroke of full-time.