Amakhosi are in the middle of a rough patch in their Premier Soccer League campaign and have been further hit by fresh fitness concerns
Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter says forward Lebogang Manyama is back in rehabilitation after suffering an injury during training.
The latest injury setback comes as the Soweto giants prepare to host Chippa United in Saturday’s Premier Soccer League tie at FNB Stadium.
With Leonardo Castro and Samir Nurkovic already out injured, both after surgery, Manyama’s injury further depletes their options upfront.
“We worked hard with a reduced squad during the international break,” Baxter told the media.
“We’ve got all players back from the international break today and had an intense session this morning [Thursday]. The lads coming back from Bafana are in good spirits and are okay, obviously, because they got a couple of good results, so they’re okay.
“The other lads who were with their national teams came back fully fit so they have all trained properly. Unfortunately, Lebo Manyama has broken down again and we pulled him from training so he is back to the rehab programme.
“Samir [had an] operation so obviously it’s too soon to say anything. Siya [Ngezana] is working hard at getting back, Leo Castro is working hard at getting back. [Dumisani] Zuma is working hard at getting back, but it’s not anywhere near to playing for those players. Siya is running, almost fully, but he is not back training with the ball with us.”
Chiefs go into the Chippa match on the backdrop of a four-match winless run comprising two defeats and two draws.
They face their Eastern Cape opponents who have gone for five consecutive matches without winning and just a point separates the two sides.
Baxter admits they are feeling “knives close to our throats” ahead of Saturday’s clash.
“It is business as usual, with the knives close to our throats I suppose,” said Baxter.
“Both teams’ seasons have not been what we have been looking for and people will talk up the ex-Kaizer Chiefs coach coming back to spoil the party and that sort of thing. I don’t think Gavin is thinking that, I think he is thinking about the results and that is exactly the same with us.
“As I said earlier, it is business as usual but everybody is feeling that knife close to their throats.”
The Briton, however, defends the difficult run, saying they are feeling the pinch of having limited pre-season time.
“You have to remember that I came into this job with virtually no pre-season,” Baxter said.
“We have played six games and already I am being asked if my job is under pressure. I am the only coach who has won anything over the last 18 years at this club and after six games my job is under pressure.”