June 23, 2021

Mamelodi Sundowns ‘not ideal’ opener for Kaizer Chiefs’ Hunt, while Ofori readies for Orlando Pirates debut

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The PSL season starts with a blockbuster encounter between Amakhosi and the Brazilians. Elsewhere, the Buccaneers could field their new goalkeeper

Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt says he would have preferred to open their 2020/21 Premier Soccer League (PSL) campaign against any other opponent besides Mamelodi Sundowns.

Chiefs host Sundowns at FNB Stadium on Saturday in the highlight of the opening weekend of the league race.

It would be Hunt’s first league match in charge of Chiefs and the four-time championship-winning coach would have loved to have another opponent on his debut.

“It is not ideal to start the season with this kind of a match,” Hunt told the Kaizer Chiefs website.

“I am sure the opponents feel the same. But that is how fixtures are and we must be prepared and ready for the match. It is important to start well in the league and that is what we have planned to do this afternoon.

“It is going to be an interesting encounter. We are playing a Sundowns team that you will never know who they will be fielding today. I do not have much to say because this is the first match of the season.

“I am working with my team and pulling all stops to bring the best out of everyone. We cannot say we are settled or have a settled team yet. I know our shortcomings and we are working on every aspect of our game.”

Chiefs welcome back midfielder Willard Katsande and attacker Lebogang Manyama who were both suspended for last week’s MTN8 quarter-final match against Maritzburg United.

Eric Mathoho is still out injured which could see Ramahlwe Mphahlele again starting as a centre-back partnering Daniel Cardoso.

Kenyan midfielder Anthony Akumu is doubtful but Hunt might not be worrying himself much as he has already stated that Njabulo Bloem is fit for the defensive midfield role.

“We are ready,” declares Hunt. “The mood in the camp is good and we have gone through the training sessions very well. Again, we cannot wait to get on the pitch to kick off and see how it goes.”

Meanwhile, new Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Richard Ofori could made his debut against AmaZulu on Saturday.

Pirates travel to Jonsson Kings Park Stadium as they kickoff their bid for a first league title since 2012.

Ghana goalkeeper Ofori was signed on Tuesday and has already been in full swing training, in the process lining himself up for selection against Wayne Sandilands and Siyabonga Mpontshane.

“Training has been good,” Ofori told the Pirates website.

“I have been welcomed in the team with open arms by everybody here which has been great. Everyone here is very friendly. The organization and professionalism have been of international standard.

“As for training, well what I can say is that the intensity is very high, but I am adapting well. I’m also getting accustomed to a different methodology of training under the goalkeeper coach Jyri [Nieminen] which has been good.”

It is yet to be seen who coach Josef Zinnbauer would start in goal between Ofori and Sandilands.

Pirates go into this match on a high after eliminating Cape Town City from the MTN8 seven days earlier.