Nkhatha can give boo-boys something more to shout about


Kingston Nkhatha returns to a venue he is very much familiar with tonight, but will do so wearing a blue and white shirt instead of the famous gold and black.

It will be the second time the Zimbabwean officially makes his way onto the pitch as a SuperSport United player following his acrimonious parting with Kaizer Chiefs in the January transfer window.

Tonight’s appearance, however, is the one that perhaps many will remember.

The last time Nkhatha played at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, an alternative home ground for Chiefs, he scored with a cheeky back-heel and turned provider for Amakhosi’s second goal in a 2-1 victory over Free State Stars during their December 16 Premier League clash. Nkhatha had silenced the boo-boys and critics then to deservedly walk away with the man of the match award.

You would have thought he was at Chiefs to stay following those heroics. But tonight, the burly striker comes up against his former employers and most importantly Stuart Baxter – the one man who stood by him, never questioned his commitment, work rate and ability to influence a match in Amakhosi’s favour when a section of the club’s supporters felt he was not worth his salt.

The Englishman was so incensed by the boo-brigade that he threatened to quit coaching the Glamour Boys mid-season. But it was Nkhatha, rather, who was to walk out.

“We talked about everything that was happening, including my move to SuperSport,” the striker said about Baxter after his move to Pretoria was confirmed last month.

He said to me that life went on, and that he understood I had to make a decision on my future.”

The official line is that Chiefs offered Nkhatha a one-year extension to his contract, while SuperSport, who had expected the striker at the end of the season after he signed a pre-contract, had lured him with a long-term deal.

It is too early to say, but life without their target man got off to a bumpy start for Amakhosi.

While he scored five minutes into his debut for Matsatsantsa, coincidentally against Free State Stars last Wednesday, Chiefs huffed and puffed to a goalless draw against Bloemfontein Celtic, a result that cut their lead at the top to 13 points.

Amakhosi again displayed a flat performance to beat lowly Botswana side Township Rollers in their opening Caf Champions League clash at the weekend.

Meanwhile, Bidvest Wits winger Sameehg Doutie yesterday tipped Chiefs as Premiership champions in waiting, much like his coach Gavin Hunt has been saying all along.

However, Doutie did not just leave it there as he believes anything is still possible for the Clever Boys, especially after an ideal start this year.

Wits are tied on 34 points with second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns, with only goal difference separating the two sides that have an outside chance of displacing Amakhosi at the summit.

Wits face Moroka Swallows in Dobsonville tonight.

-Mazola Molefe

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