Chiefs’ Philani Zulu battles to shake off Richards Bay cup debacle
Coach Gavin Hunt’s side prepare for an even trickier league outing against AmaZulu
Memories of Kaizer Chiefs’ embarrassing defeat to lower tier side Richards Bay in the Nedbank Cup a little over a week ago are still fresh in Philani Zulu’s mind.
The midfielder is trying to come to grips with the humiliating loss they suffered at the hands of a first division side and he is hopeful coach Gavin Hunt’s limping side can put the shock result behind them as they prepare for an even trickier league outing against Benni McCarthy’s AmaZulu at FNB Stadium on Wednesday.
Chiefs’ stunning 2-1 defeat to Richards Bay was so shocking for Hunt that he readily professed that it was the most embarrassing of his largely successful 27 years as a coach.
Amakhosi fans will feel that the embarrassment extends beyond Hunt’s career as a coach and wades into the club’s 50-year existence in SA football.
Zulu admitted it was a sad day in Naturena when Chiefs plunged into such depths of ignominy on that fateful afternoon at FNB Stadium.
“I mean‚ looking at how we played in the last game [against Richards Bay] and getting knocked out of the Nedbank Cup‚ it was sad‚ it was a saddening thing to go through.
“Now it is up to us to pick up our feet and look forward to Wednesday to the game against AmaZulu‚” he said.
AmaZulu will certainly be no slouches and they appear to have stepped up a gear since McCarthy took over as coach last month. The former Bafana Bafana striker has transformed them into a dangerous side and Zulu admitted the Durban side has enough guns to ensure the continuation of a torrid month for the limping Chiefs side.
“It is not going to be an easy game. They were playing on Sunday [against Swallows FC in a league match that ended 0-0] and now they will have that momentum going forward‚ and we have not been playing since the previous game [against Richards Bay] last month.
“So it is up to us as players to keep our feet on the ground and our heads held up high‚ continue working hard and looking forward to the next game.”
AmaZulu have climbed to seventh on the standings and have grown in confidence in the past few games‚ evidenced by the draw with Swallows in Soweto on Sunday.
“It is going to be a different ball game because they have more confidence now‚ they play well as a team going forward‚ they can keep the ball‚ they are a very structured team and they are even more offensive than ever‚” said Zulu.
Chiefs have been inactive for days after their Champions League match against Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca was called off last week. The Moroccans rejected Chiefs’ applications for visas‚ citing fears over Covis-19 as reason.
“As much is it was [disappointing] for us not to play in Caf‚ it has given us more time to reflect on ourselves and to prepare more as a team.
“Given the time that we had‚ we are looking good and we are looking forward to giving the best as we prepared during the week.”
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