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Football Reporting


Kaizer Chiefs defender Mathoho’s absence adds to a ‘very difficult start to the year’

Amakhosi will go into this potentially stormy affair without a key player while others are doubtful

Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt says he will not make “too drastic” changes for Saturday’s Premier Soccer League clash against Cape Town City at Cape Town Stadium as he also revealed defender Erick Mathoho will not be available.

After being given compassionate leave to attend a family bereavement and missed the midweek trip to AmaZulu, Mathoho is isolating at home as per protocol since he was part of a gathering.

The centre-back’s absence could see Hunt starting Anthony Akumu and Ramahlwe Mphahlele as twin central defenders like he did in the 1-0 win over Usuthu, while Daniel Cardoso might remain as a defensive midfielder.

Halfway through January, it would be Chiefs’ fourth match of 2021 as Hunt also suggests there is no guarantee Willard Katsande and Lebogang Manyama could play after missing two league games and a Caf Champions League assignment.

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“It’s very difficult since the start of the year,” Hunt told the Chiefs website.

“We have played a lot of games in a short space of time. We play Tuesday again after Saturday’s game. It is part and parcel of what is ahead of us. Wednesday’s game against AmaZulu was a physical one. We are going to make a few changes here and there but nothing too drastic.

“Lebogang Manyama is back in training. He is still not yet match fit but it’s great to have more options. Erick Mathoho is observing Covid-19 protocols and is in quarantine after attending the funeral of his late father.

“Willard Katsande has also started training and Reeve Frosler is running around but no contact training as yet. The right-back position was a big problem for us, but Siyabonga Ngezana has done very well there so far.”

Hunt has been tinkering with the right-back position in recent weeks, playing Ngezana and Cardoso, while Mphahlele and Yagan Sasman have also played in that area this season.

With Chiefs 10th on the table and four points better than basement side Black Leopards, they are facing a side that is eight points off leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.

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Chiefs’ hands remain tied due to a Fifa transfer ban, but their opponents City have already made a January signing after securing the services of forward Justin Shonga.

“They [Cape Town City] are a good football side. They are a difficult side to play against and a very well-run club that needs a lot of respect,” said Hunt.

“The recent signing of Justin Shonga is a great move for them. He is someone many teams would have taken if they had the opportunity. He’s good striker, good finisher, quick and sharp. He will definitely add value for them.”

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