After just his first start in well over a year, Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya is pleased with the way he and the Kaizer Chiefs squad navigated a testing fixture against Sekhukhune United over the weekend to give Amakhosi coaching staff a “good headache”.
The comfortable 2-0 win against Sekhukhune came amidst a COVID outbreak in the Chiefs camp which provided players like Ntiya-Ntiya a rare opportunity – one he is looking to now build on.
The left-back made just three league appearances – all as a substitute – in the 2020-21 season and coming on this season as a substitute against Swallows a fortnight ago, before making his first start since August 2020 against Sekhukhune.
“To start the game was a great feeling. It has been a long time since I started a league game and I am happy to have stepped in after such a long time. And to then gel with the team is a really positive thing. I feel hundred percent that I gave the team a good performance. It was good for me and for the team, because we were able to sharpen the squad,” Ntiya-Ntiya told www.kaizerchiefs.com.
To play for as long as he did (over 83 minutes) against Sekhukhune was something he felt demonstrated his readiness to help the team.
“My physicality is on the right track. To play for that long after starting a game for the first time in over a year shows that. Not every player can start a game after a year and play almost 90 minutes. My next step from here is to get more game time. So that I can improve myself and we never know, I can get into the national set up one day, I do feel that the coaches now have a good headache, as we have all put up our hands with Sunday’s showing. We need to push each other because we are all working for the team,” Ntiya-Ntiya, bristling with confidence.
He credits the Chiefs coaching staff for the preparatory work put in ahead of Sekhukhune, especially given the difficult circumstances, and the work on both the mental and physical aspects of the game.
Ntiya-Ntiya will now have his sights set on featuring for a third game in a row when Chiefs travel to KwaZulu-Natal for their next game against Royal AM on Sunday.
A third successive league win will see Chiefs consolidate the second spot on the standings and keep the pressure on log leaders Sundowns.