Overview: After a second consecutive season without silverware, Steve Komphela will be under immense pressure from the club’s board and their uncompromising fans to start delivering.
Much of the talk last season was about how the club felt they had let their passionate fans down, and how this campaign would be about restoring the pride. A third season without winning anything is unfathomable for the biggest club in the land.
While they had one of the meanest defences in the league during 2016/17, they had a knack of conceeding silly goals at crucial moments, which ultimately saw them drop a massive amounts of points. Of the 30 games they played, they drew 11 of them. That they lost only six shows that for most parts, they were on the right track.
However, it’s scoring goals that should be Komphela’s biggest worry this time around. Last season, they could only manage 39 goals as they finished way off the pace in fourth place in the league. That number is simply not good enough for a club who see themselves as perennial title contenders. Turning opportunities into goals, and draws into wins will the most important thing for them.
Players to watch: Ryan Moon looks to be a player with a bright future for the club, and if he gets regular game time, he will score. He’s started his international career on a great note, netting twice in two games for Bafana Bafana, and will be hoping to carry on in that vein for his club. Bernard Parker has scored just nine goals in all competitions over the last two seasons, suggesting that it’s perhaps time the torch was passed on to the younger Moon. Of course, players such as Itumeleng Khune, Lorenzo Gordinho, and Erick Matoho will remain crucial for the Soweto giants.
New Signings: Chiefs’ activity in the transfer market should be encouraging for their fans. Former Bloemfontein Celtic winger Dumisani Zuma should keep supporters on their feet, and he will surely create a lot of chances for the Glamour Boys. They’ve also captured the versatile Philani Zulu from Maritzburg United, while Bongolethu Jayiya and Enocent Mkhabela should bolster their midfield. Zimbabwean youngster Teenage Hadebe will also add quality at the back, although he will be seen as understudy to Gordinho and Matoho.
Vodacom Soccer prediction: On paper they look better than they did last season, but they’re still some way off from matching Sundowns’ quality.
By Lunga Biyela