While still at pains to paint his team as babes in the wood‚ Highlands Park coach Owen da Gama has said there might be some vulnerability in Kaizer Chiefs ahead of their Nedbank Cup last-16 clash at Makhulong Stadium on Saturday.
Highlands‚ who won promotion to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) in 2018 under Da Gama‚ have had another solid season with the former Bafana Bafana assistant coach.
They are currently matching their seventh placing from their first season back‚ and lost 1-0 against SuperSport United in the MTN8 final. On Wednesday night Park again showed they can match the PSL’s big guns, holding Bidvest Wits to 2-2 at Bidvest Stadium.
Da Gama was asked about PSL leaders Chiefs perhaps showing some cracks in their 2-1 home defeat against Maritzburg United last Saturday‚ in a season where Amakhosi are under pressure to reverse four campaigns without a trophy in their 50th anniversary campaign.
“I think there’s no doubt there’s a lot of pressure on Chiefs‚” the Highlands coach said. “They are vulnerable. And I think we have got a score to settle — there’s no doubt about it.
“We are going to fight for our lives. It’s a game where we have to show that we can do it against a big team of Chiefs’ calibre.
“So we’ll definitely give it our best shot. Every team has their challenges‚ their pressures‚ their weaknesses and strengths. So with us‚ trying to build Highlands Park‚ it’s just to get better.
“I don’t think we are where we’d like to be. We are better than where we were last season‚ and we went to a final. So there’s a bit of growth there. But we just hope we can kick on and grow as a team.
“Every time you play against Wits‚ every time you play Chiefs‚ you go to another level‚ because these are quality teams.
“It’s sold out at Makhulong. And that’s not an easy fortress for anybody. It’s a pitch that suits us‚ and we’ll make sure this is a hell of a game on Saturday.”
Chiefs have had Highlands’ number this season. In two league games Amakhosi beat Park 3-0 at FNB Stadium in January‚ and came from behind to win 3-2 at Makhulong in August.