Things could get even worse for Kaizer Chiefs in their Caf Champions League campaign as they could be without up to four key players in their third Group C match against Angolan side Petro de Luanda at FNB Stadium on Saturday evening.
Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune will be a notable absentee, as he has been given time off to attend to a family bereavement after the death of his sister earlier week.
While his form has been suspect of late, coach Gavin Hunt has preferred him ahead of Daniel Akpeyi and Bruce Bvuma. Also doubtful for the important match are strikers Samir Nurkovic and Leonardo Castro, who are carrying niggles, while captain Ramahlwe Mphahlele is suspended.
According to Hunt, Nurkovic has a small injury and his availability is subject to a late fitness test and Castro has a case of fatigue and the coach might look to use him sparingly. Mphahlele is suspended after being sent off in Sunday’s disastrous 4-0 defeat at Wydad Athletic.
I have only one striker available,” Hunt said on Friday. “But it is something I have known from the start of the week, so from Tuesday at training we have been preparing with that in mind,” he added.
Amakhosi are currently third on the Group C standings and things are not looking good for them based on their form, but Hunt remains hopeful of making it out of the group stages.
“If you look at the history of the competition, 10 points gets you in (to the next round) and we have four games left. We just have to win our home games and we will be fine,” he said.
Their first of two remaining home games is against Petro Luanda, who are fourth and remain winless and Hunt said it is imperative that they pick up three points. After that they will be away to Luanda on March 16, then home to Wydad on April 2, with their last fixture away to Horoya AC in Sudan on April 9.
With the odds stacked against him since taking over at Amakhosi, in the face of a season-long transfer ban Hunt is not fazed and
understands the supporters’ frustrations.
“A coach is always judged on results, it doesn’t matter what the conditions and situations are. It means nothing, right now I know we have to do better,” said Hunt on his stay in Naturena so far.
“The biggest problem we have had is consistency in selection of the team, every game we have had a change here and there. It will be like that tomorrow again …. But we have to be better, no doubt about it,” he added.