The 30-year-old midfielder appeared jolly as he spoke to the media at Naturena this week ahead of tomorrow’s Carling Black Label Cup match where they meet Orlando Pirates at the FNB Stadium.
“It’s been very good,” he said of their pre-season preparations. “It’s always important to prepare from the beginning with the same goal and vision. That’s what’s happened. The guys are very focused. We have had a number of meetings with a lot of sessions. The goal is very clear,” he added.
Chiefs have signed four new players as they look to reinforce the team after a disastrous campaign last season that saw them finish outside of the top eight for the time in over a decade. Maluleka said the new guys come with experience and bring healthy competition to the team.
“They are experienced guys, while last season we had more young players promoted into the team. It has been a challenging four years and that needs to change. We are doing everything in our power to ensure that happens.
“It is disappointing that we didn’t finish in the top eight. It is something we don’t want but we have another season to rectify that. And with the squad we have and with the new additions as well, we can’t fall short this time.
“I can’t single anyone out. I don’t want to lie. I have seen them and they are quality players. They come from different backgrounds. Samir (Nurcovic) is a goal-scorer and so is (Lazarous) Kambole. (James) Kotei is remarkable with his tackling and passing, but so is Kiza (Kyrean Baccus). I can’t single anyone out. They are Kaizer Chiefs players and they have the quality to be here,” he said.
Maluleka has been voted into the starting XI for Saturday’s game and he said it inspires the players to know the fans believe in them.
“There are no friendly matches between Pirates and Chiefs. It is very difficult because we are still preparing for the season but we need to give everything because this game sets the tone.
“It also gives the supporters some confidence because they have a say on who starts. It’s very good, I am very happy. It shows the supporters have faith in me. There is now one thing left to do, and that is to perform on match day.
“We know the game plan and that is very important. The supporters always want to see us win despite it being a friendly.”