Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns will battle it out in a top-of-the-table clash on Sunday. With the hype gripping South African football, SoccerClub writer DEAN WORKMAN has picked out five talking points ahead of the clash.
After last season’s humiliation Amakhosi have started the season in fine form and top the Absa Premiership log heading into the encounter at Loftus.
However, Chiefs have been able to solely focus on the league after not qualifying for the MTN8 or any continental competition.
Sundowns, meanwhile, have started their busy programme in a fashion which has become the new normal at the club over the last few seasons, as they sit two points behind Chiefs in second with a game in hand.
The hype of the match intensified since before the Shell Helix Cup where the managers were caught in a war of words.
It was then further built up after the Soweto giants ran out 4-2 winners, albeit against a weaker Downs side.
Since the clash at the FNB Pitso Mosimane has added fuel to the fire with his comments on referees.
It will all come to a head on Sunday. Here, SoccerClub highlights five main talking points ahead of the clash:
Pitso is right: Sundowns don’t have to beat Chiefs
The former Bafana Bafana coach publicly stated that his side does not need victory over Chiefs to win the league.
As shown last year against Pirates, Pitso knows that avoiding defeat is however of importance. Downs have shown over a number of series that when the games come thick and fast, they know how to get the business done. The Absa Premiership is a marathon and not won in October.
Win more important for Chiefs
Although, as with Sundowns, the game on Sunday will not determine the success of the team’s season.
However, a win over the defending champions will send a statement to the rest of the league and reaffirm all the work done by Middendorp and his charges.
Billiat, Castro to hurt former club again
The former Sundowns duo caused havoc against their former side in the Shell Helix Cup. Castro bagged a hat-trick and an assist, while Billiat assisted all of his strike partner’s goals while adding one of his own.
Both players seem to be finding their top form and Mosimane will know better than most that they could combine to devastating effect on Sunday.
Spotlight on the officials
With much of the pre-match talk surrounding the referees and Chiefs supposedly benefiting from poor calls, the pressure is well and truly on.
Benni McCarthy and Mosimane have both had their say, while Middendorp has looked to distance himself from the conversation – for now at least.
The only hope is that on Sunday the headlines are made by the players and not the officials.
Downs’ South Americans beginning to flourish
Gaston Sirino, Ali Meza and Mauricio Affonso have all found the back of the net in recent games.
Sirino’s form comes as no surprise after an impressive debut season, but Meza looked to be on his way out in pre-season and new signing Affonso suffered an injury which delayed the start of his Sundowns career.
Meza, though, got his head down and forced his way back into Mosimane’s plans while Affonso has scored three goals in as many games, with all his appearances coming from the bench.
The trio clearly have a budding friendship and that could translate into a deadly partnership on the pitch spelling trouble for Chiefs.
You may also like