It is easy to see where Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp (right) gets the courage to count his team among those who are in the race for the Absa Premiership title, despite them in sixth spot and eight points behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
The inconsistency of all three favourites – Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits – in the race for the biggest domestic title has opened a window for teams like Chiefs, Cape Town City and SuperSport United.
With the exception of Downs, who have a game in hand, all of the top six teams have eight games left and 24 points to fight for. Any team who can get some consistency going could snatch the coveted prize.
“Mathematically, anything is still possible,” said Middendorp after the win over Highlands Park last weekend.
“We will prepare well for our next game against Maritzburg who had a good game (beating AmaZulu 2-1). If we can stop dropping points like we did in our previous game (the 1-1 draw with Polokwane City) and do things the way we have planned we can get three points no matter who we face. What is beautiful about football is that you can’t predict what will happen,” he said.
He believes they can do better. But if Middendorp were to fix anything in his team, it would be the goalkeeping which has in essence cost them nine points in the past six games.
Howlers by Virgil Vries gifted Sundowns and Cape Town City easy wins when Chiefs looked on course for three points in their matches last month and Daniel Akpeyi also fumbled in the 1-1 draw against Polokwane City.
But Middendorp is looking ahead: “We have to fight for the points in the remaining games … The points are what count at this moment and not … to sit after a game and say ‘we played well, but unfortunately…’
“We have to change a little bit of our approach and what counts is the three points. We now have to prepare for the next game,” said Middendorp.
Chiefs host Maritzburg United at the FNB Stadium on Saturday night.