Kaizer Chiefs’ victorious return to PSL action on Saturday ended 2022 on a high for the Club, as they took three points from their match against Golden Arrows at Moses Mabhida stadium.
Afterwards, coach, Arthur Zwane felt satisfied with the team’s performance considering it was their first competitive outing in more than a month.
“You could see, in the first 10 minutes we were a bit sleepy,” said Zwane, “They got that early chance but, in terms of the structure, we were ok especially when we didn’t have possession of the ball. We could have been better at getting into the final third with more aggression and that gave them confidence. I always say when you play teams Like Arrows, who are comfortable on the ball, once you allow them time and space they can easily hurt you.”
A slight tactical shift early on paid dividends for the coach, as he explains, “We wanted to put them under pressure by setting pressing traps, not to allow them to come inside because we knew that they would try to overload, which they did on Reeve (Frosler’s) side. So, we tried to counter that by moving Reeve further forward and make their wide players defend a bit.”
Burundian striker, Caleb Bimenyimana put Amakhosi into an early lead after 14 minutes which allowed Chiefs to consolidate from a position of strength and Zwane believes his side could well have scored more than the two goals they managed on the day.
“We wanted to get an early goal and then sit back a bit and wait for the right moment to kill the game off. We then managed to get another goal from a dead ball situation and we were just unfortunate not to get a third one,” he said.
Amakhosi didn’t have things their own way throughout and veteran goalkeeper, Itumeleng Khune, once again demonstrated his class and experience with a number of crucial saves to keep a clean sheet, as Zwane elaborates, “They also had chances and Itu was at is best today. He led by example and his experience counts a lot. He gives the boys courage and belief. It was very satisfying to keep a clean sheet. We want to build on this now and keep the momentum going to keep more clean sheets.”
While the result and overall performance in the first game after the World Cup break were pleasing to everyone involved with the Club, Zwane noted that there is room for improvement as club football gets back into full swing in the new year.
“We still have a lot of things to work on and improve but I am aware we have just come back from a very long recess, which is unusual for this time of the season, but I like the way we responded and I’m pleased we did not concede a goal,” Zwane pointed out.
The match was also significant in marking the full debuts of two of Amakhosi’s brightest young home-grown prospects, Samkelo Zwane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi. Both players showed enough against Arrows to suggest that they are not out of their depth in this company and will surely been seen more often in the Gold & Black in 2023 and beyond.
“The youngsters did well,” said Zwane., “They will still take time to get accustomed to playing at this level but the more they play the more experience they will get.”
Chiefs go into 2023 in fourth place on the PSL log, seven points off the leaders, Sundowns, but only two points behind second placed Richards Bay. Zwane is determined to find ways of optimising the team’s output in the second half of the season.
“We’ll go back to the drawing board and see where we can do better at capitalising on our opportunities and score more goals, because we are making the chances. It is a game of numbers and if we had scored a third we would be in a better position because these things can count come the end of the season,” he said, adding, “We need to be more clinical in front of goal, but we are working hard at that.”
Kaizer Chiefs are next in action against Sekhukhune United, in a home game at FNB stadium on 7 January 2023. Buy the R30 tickets here: Match Tickets