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Kaizer Chiefs’ Zwane targets top-three league finish

09:28 GMT 12/12/2021
Arthur Zwane, Kaizer Chiefs, June 2021
Despite some current difficulties in their camp, the Amakhosi coach believes the season has a 'long way to go' and his team can still challenge

Kaizer Chiefs assistant coach Themba Zwane says the Premier Soccer League title race will be a close contest despite leaders Mamelodi Sundowns having opened a 14-point gap.

Placed sixth on the table, Chiefs have 15 points fewer than Sundowns and Zwane feels it’s possible to cut that gap especially when Masandawana start to balance domestic league business with Caf Champions League duties.

Having set a top-three finish, Chiefs will be battling against teams above them on the log like Orlando Pirates, SuperSport United, Royal AM and Sekukhune United.

“We still have a very long way to go. Even the log leaders Sundowns will drop points,” Zwane told the Chiefs website.

“They have been good, but it does not mean the league is over. It will be close this season. There will be some teams that will rise to the occasion. Sundowns will have Champions League games but having said that, they do have a strong squad.

“But playing in African Competitions will test them and they will have challenges like the rest of us. I think in the last five games of the season, we can have a clearer idea as to who the favourites will be – but right now there is still a lot to play for.

“Teams can stumble and find it difficult to be consistent towards the end of the season. Every game is difficult. We will see how it goes and we will give it our best shot to ensure that we are within the top three come the end of the season.”

Finishing in the top-three would mean a return to Africa for Chiefs where they would play either in the Caf Champions League or Caf Confederation Cup.

This is after they reached the Champions League final last season, having earned a ticket to that competition by finishing as runners-up at the end of the 2019/20 PSL title race.

But now their league campaign has been disturbed by Covid-19 which saw them not honouring fixtures against Cape Town City and Golden Arrows.

If the PSL decide to declare those games as walkovers for their opponents, Chiefs would lose six points and that could complicate their top-three ambitions.

They now return to action on Sunday by hosting Sekhukhune United at FNB Stadium.

Amakhosi are likely to field a hugely depleted squad against Sekhukhune and Zwane named Leonardo Castro and Siyabinga Ngezana as the ones sure to play.

“We are trying to get the combinations right. More than anything else, it’s a matter of trying to see if they cope because we will have a team of players who have not been featuring regularly,” said Zwane.

“Guys like Leonardo Castro and Siyabonga Ngezana will get some game time after they have had long term injuries. We are glad to see them back and other players who have not featured week-in and week-out will also get to play.”

Chiefs have kept the identities of the other available players as a closely-guarded secret.