Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
2 minute read
9 Feb 2016
4:10 pm

Wits and Chiefs have a lot to lose

Sibongiseni Gumbi

There will be no time for niceties at the Bidvest Stadium tonight when Wits welcome Kaizer Chiefs in the Absa Premiership.

The game is set for a 7.30pm kick-off.

Chiefs coach Steve Komphela made it clear he expects war, and will accept the win even if his team have to play “ugly” – so long as he gets to pocket the full points.

“It is going to be a direct confrontation. We’re both fighting for the championship and none can afford to slip up at this stage,” said Komphela after guiding his side to a narrow 3-2 win over Maritzburg United on Saturday night.

“This will not be an easy game, it will be very tight. We are chasing and we have to keep the winning momentum going to ensure we put pressure on the teams above us,” he added.

Komphela’s team are fourth, four points behind Wits who are in second. A win for Amakhosi will put them on equal points with Mpumalanga Black Aces.

Komphela will have almost all his players available – Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Erick Mathoho are available after missing last weekend’s game through suspension, though leftback Tsepo Masilela will serve a one-match ban.

Wits’ Gavin Hunt will be without suspended midfielder Phumlani Ntshangase and may also be missing the influential James Keene, who is reportedly injured. It is still unclear if Keene will miss tonight’s clash but he was an obvious absence in the 1-0 win over Golden Arrows in Durban last weekend.

Hunt was quoted as saying he didn’t think Keene would feature, but that could easily be mind games.

Even without Keene – who has scored five goals in five games since joining the club in January – Wits are still capable of fielding a strong attack with the likes of Henrico Botes, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Phakamani Mahlambi.

Hunt has strategically avoided title talk throughout the season, stressing that what’s important for him are the “two Ps” (Games and Points).

But of all the three teams – Wits, Aces and Chiefs – who have a realistic chance of dislodging leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, Wits look the more legitimate with the experience they have in their team.

If Wits win, they will move to within three points of Sundowns, who have a tricky fixture against a seemingly resurgent Orlando Pirates tomorrow night.

The Clever Boys had to work their socks off to secure a 1-0 win over Arrows in Durban.

“It was a gutsy performance,” said Hunt after the game.

“To be fair, I felt we were really fortunate.

“They had two great chances they could have scored from, but you know with the football gods sometimes, you can play pretty well and not win.”