“Any point counts at the stage,” coach Steve Komphela reflected after the 1-0 win over the energetic Chippa United. “We played a good side that can hurt you if you aren’t careful. They don’t threaten often, but they have this ability to score at any point of the game if you aren’t careful.”
“We had to grind out a result and I’m happy with the three points,” Komphela furthermore commented. “The game was a spectacle for the supporters.”
The Kaizer Chiefs coach brought on George Lebese for Edmore Chirambadare at the start of the second half.
“We made a few changes, including bringing on George Lebese and it worked,” Komphela looked back on the substitution “With Edmore having worked hard in the first half, we thought that Lebese with his finesse will give us something different. And, I remember telling the bench that George will score for us tonight and that’s exactly what happened.”
The Amakhosi mentor also clarified the left wingers’ absence in the previous matches: “George had a niggling pain in his ankle and we wanted it to settle and be treated adequately. I hope he will remain injury free for the rest of the season.”
Lebese was left behind when Chiefs travelled to Kabokweni and Bloemfontein in recent games. Both were away fixtures.
Gustavo Páez played his first full game for Chiefs. “Páez gave us everything we were looking for,” Komphela said about the Venezuelan striker. “I thought that he would get tired, but he played well until the end of the match.”
With Páez playing the full 90 minutes in the absence of the suspended Bernard Parker, the Chiefs coached hesitantly added: “We will sort out the return of Parker when we get there next week.”
Chippa’s midfielder Buyani Sali had to be stretchered off the pitch last night after a one-on-one battle with Amakhosi’s Lorenzo Gordinho.
“We wish Sali a speedy recovery,” Komphela said.
Thanks to this win Chiefs are now on top of the log with Cape Town City, which is leading on goal difference. Both teams have 45 points with Amakhosi having played one game more than the Citizens.
Next Saturday, Amakhosi welcome SuperSport United at FNB Stadium in the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup.