With Kaizer Chiefs again displaying their credentials with a brilliant and gallant showing against a Bloemfontein Celtic side who went down fighting in a 5-3 defeat at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night, the question now should be whether Amakhosi can hold on and go all the way to win the Absa Premiership title.
It looks good and even the most doubtful of punters can now put their money on Ernst Middendorp’s side wrestling the title away from Mamelodi Sundowns. Amakhosi had to come from behind three times against Celtic, who were giving as much as they took, especially in the first half.
It took sheer brilliance and a never-say-die attitude from the Naturena-based side to come back and wrestle the game away from Celtic in the second half having gone into the break trailing 3-2.
Middendorp, who has been with Amakhosi for over a year now in his second stint, had said last week before the game that his team are following a program adopted when the season started.
“The process was very clear. We started in July presenting our ideas, having targets and goals of being in the competition for the championship. In the Absa building at the beginning of this season, I said it several times, not doubting. There were a lot of smiles around the corner, you could see.
“At the moment we have only turned in the direction to say ‘Okay, what was said in August on the opening day of the league, we should’ve probably taken this guy seriously’. What was said is now a period to show we are in the competition,” Middendorp said.
After Saturday’s game, Middendorp conceded for the first time that Amakhosi could go all the way.
“We are doing the basics right in terms of controlling the aggressiveness. We have the potential,” said the German mentor.
Saturday’s three goal hero, Samir Nurkovic, said the coach berated them at half time for their sloppy displays and was happy they came back and made it count.
“Once again, we showed our character. Okay, (the) first half was not like we expected as we prepared, it was a little bit difficult for us, but we fought like always. We continued with the same fighting spirit,” said the Serbian striker.
Amakhosi have one more game to play before the summer break, against Maritzburg United.