Kaizer Chiefs are chomping at the bit to extend their four-match purple patch today when they host erratic Baroka FC in a Premiership fixture at FNB Stadium (kick-off 5pm). Over the weekend in Stellenbosch, Chiefs were held to a draw but remained unbeaten in four games.
Baroka, in stark contrast, have been blowing hot and cold with one win and three defeats in their four most recent matches. Chiefs have shown remarkable improvement since they slumped to 14th place in the Premiership.
Coach Gavin Hunt and his players are happy to grind it out while the team battles to find consistency. After Saturday’s lapse, Hunt said he was willing to be adventurous in his selections, with the view to securing victory.
“You know there is a saying ‘fortune favours the brave’ and we wanted to win the game. We could have lost it as well. You have to be brave and sometimes that can hurt when you open up a bit (in defence). All in all, you got to agree we are moving forward, we’re coming up,” said Hunt.
The record shows Chiefs’ four-match unbeaten run includes wins over AmaZulu, Cape Town City and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila as well as the draw with Stellenbosch.
Hunt has identified some work-ons ahead of Baroka’s visit, although he does not have much turnaround time.
“Overall, I thought we had the better opportunities. We played some good stuff at times but just the final ball let us down. In the first half, we had three or four great chances. This season we battled away from home and we could have lost it. They (Stellenbosch) had two great chances in the second half, so they too should have scored to be fair. It was a battling performance, but we move on,” he said.
Of late, several Chiefs players have returned from long-term injuries as well as suspension. This has created a measure of depth to the playing squad. One of the players back from injury is Kearyn Baccus and he has been like a breath of fresh air during his recent short spells as a substitute.
Baccus is not yet fully match fit and will probably start on the bench again. He will, however, go into the match with some emotional baggage. He played in the final match last season in which Baroka held Chiefs to shock 1-1 draw. As a result of dropping two points, Sundowns pipped Chiefs for the title.
“Yes, I’ll say we’ve got a little bit of disappointment and hurt after they ended up holding us last season in the last game. That was disappointing, and we will take that disappointment and hurt into this game to help us to drive and battle. Hopefully, we’ll get a win,” said Baccus
The match will serve as a warm-up for Chiefs ahead of Saturday’s Soweto Derby against bitter rivals Orlando Pirates.