Johannesburg – Siyethemba Sithebe holds no grudges against AmaZulu’s head honchos even though he would savour a Kaizer Chiefs win over Usuthu on any day.
Late last year, Sithebe exercised his right to sign a pre-contract with a club of his choice given that he was in the last six months of his deal at Usuthu.
He signed with Chiefs. That irked Usuthu boss Sandile Zungu who froze him out of the match-day squad for the rest of the second half of the season.
This meant that he could train and do all things as an Usuthu player, but he was just not going to be selected for the match-day squad.
That “time was tough” for Sithebe, but he took it on the chin until his time to head to Amakhosi arrived.
At the newly refurbished Chiefs, Sithebe has fitted like a glove – he’s a regular even though the team has endured a roller-coaster start so far.
“From pre-season when I joined Chiefs things became much easier for me. It was easier to adjust because of the way I was welcomed,” Sithebe said.
“We are still on the right track. The combinations are getting there. We were just unlucky in some games (to make mistakes) and not to score goals.”
Despite that poor start, Chiefs could redeem themselves if they go all the way in the MTN8 and end their seven-year trophy-less run.
They’ll have to beat Sithebe’s former club AmaZulu in the two-legged semi-final before thinking about the crown.
Usuthu have proven to Chiefs that they are tough customers – they walked away with a point in a league match at FNB Stadium this month.
Chiefs’ attack was their Achilles heel on that night, with Dillan Solomons missing a penalty kick.
But knowing the magnitude of the MTN8 semi-final, beginning with the first leg at home on Sunday afternoon, Sithebe would love a win over Usuthu.
“There is obviously always that at the back of my mind that this is my former team and the way I left them was not nice,” Sithebe said ahead of the clash.
“But whenever I play, I always want to express myself and give my 100%. We drew and I wanted us to win. We missed a penalty and wasted chances.”
Sithebe has admitted, though, that his best has not been good enough in the opening stages of the season, particularly his contribution in the final third.
“I want to improve and keep my game at a high level and get assists as a midfielder,” said Sithebe, who is yet to make a scoring contribution at Chiefs.
“Since the season started, we have been struggling in the offensive third, even myself. (But) I want to make more box entries – that’s what I need more.
“As an attacking midfielder, when you play six to seven games, and you don’t assist, people will start asking questions, and that puts you under pressure.”