There are now eight countries left in the 2018 World Cup. We discuss with two former Kaizer Chiefs stars, Cyril Nzama and Thabo Mooki the players and countries that have surprised in Russia as well as the ultimate winner of the World Cup. Of course, we also talk about Amakhosi.
Nzama is surprised by Croatia’s fine run of form at the World Cup, facing Russia in a quarter-final clash on Saturday night. “I never counted them in,” admits the former Glamour Boys captain. “But I am disappointed with Germany, Argentina and Spain. They are the so-called big football nations, but they are out.”
Our former midfield maestro Mooki has been impressed by the performances of Belgium, Uruguay and Croatia. “In past World Cup tournaments,” he comments, “countries like Germany, Argentina and Spain would go far, but not this time around. It means that the World Cup has reached another level. Many people thought Germany would take it again, but it wasn’t to be. The Germans really disappointed me.”
‘Tsiki-Tsiki’ is captivated with the form of Belgium’s striker Romelu Lukaku, who has already scored four goals. The Belgians face Brazil on Friday night, while the game between France and Uruguay is in the afternoon. Nzama feels that England’s Harry Kane has so far been the outstanding player. The lanky striker has netted an amazing six goals so far. The English will play against Sweden on Saturday afternoon.
“The player I follow at the World Cup is Croatia’s midfielder Modric,” Mooki adds. “That one is a star.” Croatia are up against Russia on Saturday evening. Nzama, as a former defender, has had a close look at the backline of the various countries. “Colombia’s Yerry Mina has been unbelievable and he is so strong in the air, having already scored three goals and that as a defender.”
Nzama expects France, Belgium, Croatia and England to go to the semis with Belgium eventually winning the cup. Mooki sees the same countries progressing, but does point out that England hasn’t been consistent. “But I will go with them against Sweden, as maybe the win in the penalty shoot-out against Colombia has boosted their confidence.”
‘Tsiki-Tsiki’ doesn’t have one candidate to win the World Cup. “It will be between Belgium, Uruguay and Brazil, one of those will take the cup. And if Belgium wins it, Eden Hazard will be selected as the player of the tournament.
When it comes to South African soccer, both former players feel positive about Kaizer Chiefs doing well next season. “A new coach will always motivate the squad,” Mooki talks from experience, “because the players want to impress the new coach.” The former midfielder is furthermore impressed with the signing of Khama Billiat. “He will do well and he fits in perfectly with the Kaizer Chiefs style of play.”
“Billiat will add value and experience,” Nzama says, “I have seen Letlhogonolo Mirwa in action. The left-back is another good signing, while Virgil Vries compliments nicely the goalkeeping department. Billiat will combine well with Leonardo Castro, as they did at Mamelodi Sundowns. I feel positive about the upcoming season.”