Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
2 minute read
14 May 2022
6:21 pm

Mphahlele adds to glorious Ellis Park memories, helps Chiefs beat Sekhukhune

Sibongiseni Gumbi

In the build-up to the game, Mphahlele told of fond memories he had of the venue where he made his professional debut 16 years ago

Ramahlwe Mphahlele of Kaizer Chiefs (c) celebrates goal during the DStv Premiership 2021/22 football match between Sekhukhune and Chiefs at Ellis Park, Johannesburg on 14 May 2022 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

It was a return Ramahlwe Mphahlele would have wanted – leading Kaizer Chiefs from the back to a 1-0 win over Sekhukhune United in a DStv Premiership match at Emirates Airlines Park (formerly Ellis Park) on Saturday afternoon. 

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In the build-up to the game, Mphahlele had told of the fond memories he had of the venue where he made his professional debut some 16 years ago.

Then a 16-year-old, Mphahlele helped Moroka Swallows to a 1-0 win over Orlando Pirates by providing an assist. 

Now, the 32-year-old defender scored the only goal to help Chiefs keep their chances of qualifying for Caf competitions next season alive. 

The game was played at a  pedestrian pace, with neither side getting any rhythm going in the early exchanges. Sekhukhune looked the more unsettled and could not even string three passes together without losing possession – the same could however be said for Chiefs.

The only vibrant factor in the game was the singing of the fans who were out in decent numbers and in jolly moods. 

It was perhaps understandable for Chiefs to struggle to get going with at least three of their regular starters unavailable for the game. 

Keagan Dolly suffered a calf strain he suffered in training and was ruled out. Kearyn Baccus was also out with a knee injury which the team had hoped he would recover from in time for the game.

Phathutshedzo Nange was also a notable absentee as he serves a one match ban after receiving his fourth yellow card against Mamelodi Sundowns last week. 

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But with all that said, Amakhosi started getting better towards the end of the first half, with Khama Billiat carrying the team up front. 

He was brought down in the 38th minute, he got up and took the resultant free kick. The 31-year-old got up and curled the free kick, a Sekhukhune defender tried to defend but headed it toward Mphahlele who made no mistake. 

Mphahlele’s initial header hit the crossbar, but the ball ricocheted off him and over the line. 

Babina Noko came back for the second half a better team, and started stamping some authority in their play, and pinning Chiefs back a little. They created a few chances. But they also had some scares as Chiefs tried to catch them on a counter a few times. 

Chiefs host relegation threatened Swallows FC in their last game at FNB Stadium next weekend.