It will be fascinating to see just how many Kaizer Chiefs supporters pack into the Danie Craven Stadium at Stellenbosch FC in the DStv Premiership on Saturday afternoon to usher in the post-Stuart Baxter era at Amakhosi.
But it is safe to say that whatever happens, the reception for Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard, catapulted again into the role of co-head coaches, will be better than that Baxter received at FNB Stadium in what proved to be his last game in charge.
Baxter was lambasted by a section of Chiefs fans at FNB Stadium last Saturday, and a 1-0 defeat at home to SuperSport United proved to be the final straw for Amakhosi management, who sacked the 68 year-old on Thursday.
With 8000 fans allowed in the 16 000-capacity Danie Craven Stadium, as per government regulations, there could be a rousing reception for caretaker-coaches Zwane and Sheppard, particularly if they can mastermind an away win.
Football-starved Chiefs fans often flock to watch Amakhosi away from Gauteng, with the Soweto giants attracting more fans than their opponents pretty-much wherever they go in the country.
The appetite can only have been increased, meanwhile, by the long absence from the stands, with last weekend’s DStv Premiership games the first to welcome back fans.
Zwane, in particular, looks a popular choice to lead the side among supporters, who recognise the job he, in particular, did last season as Zwane and Sheppard guided Chiefs into a top eight position in the league, following Gavin Hunt’s sacking, and led them into the Caf Champions League final.
The last seven games of the season could give the pair an opportunity to raise their hands for the job on a permanent basis. After all, Chiefs have a realistic chance to finish second in the table, currently sitting just five points behind Royal AM, with two games in hand.
Should they do that, Amakhosi will then play in next season’s Caf Champions League, another feather in the cap for Zwane and Sheppard, who might just persuade Amakhosi not to splash the cash on another head coach, whether a local like Benni McCarthy, or another mentor from across the ocean.
Chiefs, however, will need to improve markedly if they are to make up ground on those above them. Steve Barker’s Stellenbosch, indeed, have been a tough nut to crack all campaign, and a win on Saturday would move them level on points with Chiefs.
Amakhosi got a taste of just how difficult Stellenbosch are at first hand when they lost 1-0 in the reverse fixture in November, Ashley Du Preez getting the only goal of the game.