Different challenge for Chippa

GOAL SCORER: Chippa United are confident ahead of tomorrow’s MTN8 quarterfinal after Rhulani Manzini’s performance on Tuesday against Free State Stars  Picture: BACKPAGEPIX
GOAL SCORER: Rhulani Manzini

Chilli Boys seek first win against SuperSport

It will be all about momentum when Chippa United gun for their first-ever Premier Soccer League victory over SuperSport United at Lucas Moripe Stadium, in Pretoria tonight (kickoff 7.30pm).

Chippa have exceeded all expectations with their impressive start to the season.

They beat Free State Stars 2-1 in their league opener, then trumped Platinum Stars away from home in the MTN8 quarterfinals.

On Sunday, they forced a superb draw with star-studded Mamelodi Sundowns in the semifinal first leg. But a different challenge awaits them tonight.

Chippa have never beaten Matsatsantsa in the Premier League.

When the teams met last season, Supersport claimed a 2-0 win over the Chilli Boys and the return match in Tshwane resulted in a 1-1 draw.

However, the mastermind behind the Chilli Boys sixth-place finish last season, coach Dan “Dance” Malesela, is determined that his troops will do the business tonight, saying “there is a first time for everything”.

But Chippa are now finding out the toll that surviving in cup fixtures can take on a squad. Unlike SuperSport, Chippa were involved in cup action in that exhausting goalless draw against PSL defending champions Sundowns.

Malesela’s players have had only two days to recharge their batteries before tonight’s clash.

Although the match might have taken much out of the Chippa youngsters, Malesela said there would be no excuses if they lost tonight.

The former Orlando Pirates and Sundowns defender said there would no letting up. “We are not going to relax,” Malesela said.

“We have had recovery on Monday and the other guys who did not play have been in training.

[Yesterday] we had another session before leaving for Pretoria, so there was no time to relax. “If there is one thing I teach the players it is that everything that happens here comes with the territory.

It should be the norm. We must understand that we are going to play games this way.

“The time you get too affected by these games is when you want to complain about them or you want to go too much into negative things and all of that.”

Malesela said when league fixtures came out nobody complained, but it was only when the fixture dates got closer that one heard people complaining about tiredness.

He said they had big squads of 30 players exactly for situations such as these.

“So, I do not want to make excuses about that. If we lose, we lose because we messed up on the day.

“But we are not going to say we lost because we were tired and we were playing this game and that. “What about people who win when they are in a similar situation?” he said.

Chippa will be without key striker Rhulani Manzini due to injury. The in-form front man was stretchered off the pitch and replaced by Tshwarelo Bereng just before the end of the first half against Sundowns.

Malesela said he suspected Manzini, who has scored three goals this season, could once again have suffered a metatarsal injury. “Rhulani Manzini’s injury was a big setback.

He got injured where he hurt himself initially and will probably be out for a month. That is a big setback for us,” he said.

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