Chiefs start preparing for next season
Chiefs start preparing for next season

Posted in News on Apr 03, 2002.

It is almost certain the 2001/2002 Castle Premiership champions will be Santos with the Cape Town side needing one more victory in three matches to confirm the inevitable.

With Santos taking a break this weekend, the spotlight will be

on Gauteng's derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Sundowns at Ellis Park Stadium on Sunday.

Chiefs, who won every cup this season except for the league are already preparing for the new season.

"The league is gone, we are bringing in more youngsters to

prepare them for the coming season and I believe the boys will play well because there is no more pressure," Chiefs head coach Mushin Ertugral said on Thursday.

"We took everything this season, played more than 62 games and the boys deserve a pat on the back. But not winning the league is disappointing because winning a championship is something else altogether," said Ertugral.

Sundowns beat Chiefs 1-0 in the first round at Loftus but

Ertugral said past results do not count when these two sides meet.

"Games between ourselves and Sundowns are always a cracker and what happened before Sunday has no bearing at all. These are two top teams and we play the best football, never mind what the log standings say. Being unable to predict them is what makes these encounters so exciting," said Ertugral.

Chiefs will be without Shaun Permall and Patrick Mabedi because of injuries and Arthur Zwane is serving his suspension after being red-carded against Supersport United last week.

Sundowns will have to try and redeem themselves following two successive heavy defeats at the hands of neighbours Supersport United, and relegation-threatened Hellenic.

However, head coach Ted Dumitru said winning this game was not their number one priority.

"For this game we have two priorities, the first one is to get

some of the injured players back into action as this will lead us to our second priority which is to play well and then hopefully win the game," said Dumitru.

"Fortunately we've had six to seven days rest and if players

like Daniel Mudau, Isaac Shai, Papi Mbhele and Alex Bapela can be ready, then I will be happy," he said.

Sundowns management publicly criticised Dumitru and fined

players R5 000 each after the humiliating losses but the Roman-born mentor said he was pleased with what his charges had achieved this season.

"I know what I am doing, we are heroes if one considers the

problems we faced this season. After playing so many matches, some players have injury recurrences and others are just tired and not everybody has the same strength.

"But I think the fine was too much, personally I am a happy man, everybody is entitled to criticise but there should be rationality behind it. I think Angelo Tsichlas regrets what he said."

Elsewhere reigning champions, Orlando Pirates whose hopes of retaining the title were dashed by the 1-0 loss to Santos on

Wednesday night will travel to Venda for a meeting with Black

Leopards at Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday.

Other fixtures:

Saturday: Free State Stars v Lamontville Golden Arrows, Charles Mopeli, 3pm; Wits University v Supersport United, Milpark, 8pm

Sunday: Ria Stars v Moroka Swallows, Pietersburg, 4pm.

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