Chippa United coach Teboho Moloi is preparing to spring a surprise for Kaizer Chiefs when they clash in their much-anticipated Absa Premiership showdown at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth tonight (7.30pm).
The Chilli Boys go into tonight’s encounter with a few lessons learnt from the 1-0 loss to Amakhosi in the Telkom Knockout Cup quarterfinal at the same venue last month.
“There is a lot we took out of our last encounter with Chiefs,” Moloi said this week.
“While preparing for this game I have been telling my players that if results don’t go accordingly, they shouldn’t be despondent.
“Chiefs might come to the Friendly City beaming with confidence but we want them to know we are also eager to settle a score with them.
“It is of utmost importance that the players show a lot of mental strength and maturity. We have to be prepared psychologically.
“Most teams underestimate us but we have surprised many of our opponents in the past and we are the fastest growing brand in the Premier Soccer League.
“Being the only PSL team [in the Eastern Cape] is hard for us because we test ourselves against ourselves.
“We will keep preparing ourselves the best way we can going forward,” he said. Kaizer Chiefs will come with an added confidence knowing they have one up over Chippa United.
“I have always dreaded the feeling of losing to them even from my playing days,” Moloi said.
“We need to make sure that we are on top of our game from the kickoff.”
Chippa United’s list of injured players has diminished over the past week with the return of influential vice-captain and defensive midfielder, Sandile Zuke.
“I am happy that my hospital room is clearing up and now it will all boil down to fitness.”
On Nigerian international goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi’s fitness to play tonight, Moloi said: “Daniel is struggling a bit but a late fitness test should determine whether he will be joining us tonight or not.
“He is a soldier for me. When called upon he performs to the best of his abilities.
“But his absence may not necessarily be a worrying factor for us because we have a capable [back-up] goalkeeper in Brighton Mhlongo.”
Chiefs and Chippa United occupy sixth and seventh positions, respectively, on the PSL log standings and are separated only by goal difference as both teams have collected 16 points from 12 matches.
They are also consistently matched when it comes to their league results, as they have both won three and lost two matches in their previous 12 meetings.