Steve Komphela and Kaizer Chiefs will have to prove they have squad depth when they face Cape Town City at Cape Town Stadium tonight (7.30pm).
Komphela will be without suspended centre-back Mulomowandau Mathoho, and their woes have been compounded by confirmation that reliable right-back Ramahlwe Mphahlele is out for four months with a knee injury.
Also, left-back Tsepo Masilela has undergone ankle surgery and has been ruled out for three months.
Although Chiefs will be boosted by the return of goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, who has recovered from a chest infection, they will be playing with a ” new” defence.
Khune has come out strong to warn Benni McCarthy to expect a mouth watering encounter tonight.
Kgotso Moleko is expected to start at right-back, while Philani Zulu could come in for Masilela on the left side of defence. In central defence, Lorenzo Gordinho may be partnered by Daniel Cardoso.
This could prove to be Chiefs’ downfall considering Cape Town City are an in-form side with five wins on the trot in all competitions.
Coach Benni McCarthy’s side has scored eight goals and conceded just two, so they have done well in attack and defence.
Lehlohonolo Majoro, himself a former Chiefs player, and Ayanda Patosi can be deadly on their day, and it will be interesting to see how Amakhosi’s defence copes with them.
City’s defence, led by new captain Robyn Johannes, has been tough to beat with three clean sheets in their five matches.
Chiefs are winless in three matches in all competitions having lost two matches against SuperSport United in the MTN8 and in the league. They also drew with Bloemfontein Celtic in the league.
City have not lost to Chiefs since buying Mpumalanga Black Aces’ status last year. They have beaten Chiefs twice and drew the other match in all competitions.
”On paper, City appear to be the favourites in their own backyard, and Chiefs will have to prove they have the depth to compete in the absence of their regulars, especially in defence,” said Khune.
Lehlohonolo Majoro responded by posting in his tweeter account;
”Bra, football is done in the field not with mouth, lets see what happens tonight.”