Cape Town – The “Foreign Legion” could have a telling impact on the outcome of the MTN8 semi-final first leg clash between Kaizer Chiefs and Amazulu at Soccer City today (3pm).
Burundian striker Bonfils-caleb Bimenyimana shapes up as Chiefs’ likely trump card after he scored a brace in a recent win over SuperSport United.
On the other side, Malawian Gabadinho Mhango will lead the visiting AmaZulu attack. The pre-season move from Orlando Pirates to Amazulu has worked wonders for his morale. Although he has only three Premiership goals this season, he has had far more shots on goal and he will be a marked man this afternoon.
Another foreign-born player who could influence the outcome is defender Mozambican Edmilson Dove, who has had an impressive debut for Chiefs.
The other factor that could influence this match is that several players have played for both clubs in the past. For Amazulu, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, George Maluleka, Keagan Buchanan, Sibusiso Mabiliso, Dumisani Zuma and Lehlohonolo Majoro have all donned the Chiefs jersey in the past.
On Chiefs’ side Njabulo Ngcobo, Sifiso Hlanti and Siyethemba Sithebe are former Amazulu players. It means that coaches will enjoy input from former players to help ensure that accurate game plans are in place.
Of these “former” players Buchanan, the Amazulu midfielder, looks like a potential danger man. In Amazulu’s last game, against Mamelodi Sundowns, he was voted “Man of the Match” against the reigning Premiership champions.
Chiefs skipper Itumeleng Khune said the match offers the club a chance to end a seven-year trophy drought.
“What is most important is to score as many goals as we can and, obviously, to keep a clean sheet,” said Khune. “Because it’s our home game we don’t want to give Amazulu a hope, or opportunity to get any advantage in the first leg, so it’s important that we score and don’t concede, especially playing at home.
“We know how lethal they are up front. They’ve got three top-class players that are goal-hungry, so for us, it’s going to take a lot of concentration throughout the 90 minutes and to stay switched on for the whole match.
“Even in our league game against them, we dealt with them very well so I doubt that the coach will change the approach. We must also ensure we don’t give away set-plays near the 18-yard box because they are lethal even when it comes to that.
“We are 100% ready. I think we have been looking forward to this match from even before the Macufe game. A lot of us are excited about the fixture and we are hungry to go out there and win the match.
“We want to break that ‘curse’ of not having won a trophy for the past seven years, so for us, it’s motivation on its own that we have a chance of going all the way to the final.”
Amazulu will host the second leg in two weeks’ time.