Having improved quite notably under Ernst Middendorp, the hard work put on by Kaizer Chiefs have been somewhat blighted by goalkeeping blunders that have cost the Naturena based side six points in the Absa Premiership.
While it is unfair to point fingers at an individual in a football match, Virgil Vries’ bloopers are difficult to ignore and Amakhosi midfielder, Kabelo Mahlasela admitted that it is always preferable to have a good keeper behind the team.
“Having a good goalkeeper behind you gives you motivation,” said Mahlasela when asked about Vries’ recent blunders. “Whenever he makes a save, it pushes the attackers to go look for goals, to create chance and try to score.
“Going back to the previous games, yes our goalkeeper made mistakes and we got punished for them. The sad part is that he is the last line of defence and if he makes a mistake there is no one else to cover unlike us infield players, we can make a mistake and the keeper saves us the blushes,” he added.
In an effort to remedy the goalkeeping crises which arose after the tried and trusted Itumeleng Khune suffered a long-term injury, Amakhosi brought on board Nigeran international Daniel Akpeyi who might make his debut during the Soweto Derby against Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Pirates have been playing well recently and they are an attack minded team who can disarm any opponent with ease on their day. Mahlasela said they are aware of this. Pirates have also dominated in the derby in recent years having last lost in this hugely anticipated fixture in 2014.
“They are very good team and it will be a difficult game,” admitted Mahlasela. “Having lost three times to them last year this game means a lot to us, we owe it to the chairman and all our supporters to win it.
“We have been playing well in recent games and the only thing that has been missing are the goals. We have been working on finishing and I think it will get better. We create so many chances but don’t score as much,” said 27-year-old Sebokeng-born lad.
Mahlasela got to taste the derby in October last year as he was given a 12-minutes by then coach Giovanni Solinas and he is now looking forward to more.
“The derby is different from other games. In the derby it is more about mental strength and how strong you are as a player. You need to focus for the whole game. I believe we will do much better this time around.”