Chippa United have been dealt a double blow ahead of their Premier Soccer League fixture against Cape Town City at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday (3.30pm).
The Port Elizabeth side will be without key players Marc van Heerden and Thamsanqa Sangweni in their crucial match against City.
“Marc has a personal issue and Thami is still recovering from a hamstring injury, so [they] are out for now,” coach Dan Malesela said.
Asked whether the two players’ absence could affect his plans for Saturday’s game, the coach said: “When players are out, it’s a chance for other players to play. “So when they are given that chance they must take it. “I think these players must come up and say: ‘Hey, I am here’.”
The Chilli Boys have not won a league match in their last four, their most recent result being a 1-0 loss to Bidvest Wits.
They are now eighth on the log with nine points from seven games, having lost two, drawn three and won only two of their matches.
The last time Chippa tasted victory was against Baroka, when they beat the league rookies 4-1 in their own back yard.
Malesela said a win against City was vital.
Before the international break, the former Cape Town All Stars coach said he would use the break to work on getting the perfect starting 11.
He said he was just a few steps from the perfect formula.
“I think we are getting closer to getting a solid starting lineup. “If the performance is good and the results are good, you say: ‘Okay fine, can we go on with it, yes we can.’ “For the past week or so the group we are looking at as the possible starting 11 has been looking good.”
Malesela said scoring was one of the key areas the team had been working on during the break.
He said the acquisition of experienced striker Katlego Mashego showed that they wanted to improve scoring.
“Mashego is a seasoned player. I think all we need to do is to set him up, set him free and he will do the rest.”