Chippa United are ready for the pressure that comes with being at the top of the Absa Premiership following their superb 1-0 victory over Kaizer Chiefs at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, coach Teboho Moloi says.
The Chilli Boys delivered an outstanding performance to catapult themselves into second position behind Mamelodi Sundowns on goal difference.
Abel Mabaso’s right-footed finish from close range in the fifth minute was the difference between the two sides. Chippa missed numerous chances and could have buried Amakhosi with a convincing victory. “That was a very difficult game for us,” caretaker coach Moloi, who is negotiating a fulltime contact with the club, said.
“Credit should also go to Kaizer Chiefs. They played really well in the second half.
“It was a game of two intense halves and we should have used our chances in the first half to wrap up everything. But we were also caught trying to consolidate our lead.
“They were a very different team in the second half and my team were forced to defend towards the end of the match.”
Moloi said the team needed to work on absorbing pressure as they had to when they were under attack in the last few minutes of their nail-biting clash with Chiefs.
“For the first time I felt that the boys could not hold a balance between defence and attack,” he said.
“They would lose their concentration going forward and they could not find their feet on the counterattack.
“The more I emphasised about pushing forward, the more they would make mistakes and crack under pressure up front.
“That is a lesson I took from this game and it’s something we really need to work on going forward.”
Moloi said his team were ready to start executing a strategy that would keep them at the top of the table.
“If someone had told me that I would be second on the log at this time of the season, I would have just laughed at them,” he said. “But this is only the beginning for us as we will be going through the heats before our real race starts.
“Being second on the log is a sign that the team will be ready when the real race for the top position starts.
“We do not want to be far off when the other teams start sprinting and having to play catch up is not part of our plan.
“Being in this position will prove to be a bit of challenge for us because we will be seen as targets and everyone will be gunning for us.
“It is going to be a mental and psychological challenge for my players.
“It is important that we stay humble and work even harder from this point.
“The big question for everyone is whether the team can maintain this standard of football and we hope to show them with positive results.
“It also doesn’t matter where you are on the log, there will always be pressure.
“The fact that we are the only team from the Eastern Cape playing in the PSL adds even more pressure on us because we have to maintain premier league status.”
Chippa travel to the Mother City to play Ajax Cape Town tomorrow.