Dikwena feast on Chiefs

2012-11-25 10:00
Timothy Molobi at Royal Bafokeng Stadium
This is what happens when Zebras go into a crocodile-infested river – they get eaten alive. Which is exactly what happened to Kaizer Chiefs – aka the Zebras – when they visited Platinum Stars aka Dikwena (crocodiles) – at their compound in Rustenburg yesterday.

Dikwena did not have to go hunting outside their waters as the Zebras decided to take their chances, but they were to regret it in the end.

Stars would be proud to have been the first team to burst Chiefs’ bubble by inflicting a league victory on them this season and it took them only 25 minutes to send Chiefs packing.

But Chiefs’ first defeat has been long coming. They have gone 11 games unbeaten, but often looked unconvincing, particularly at the back.

Their luck was poised to run out and it did yesterday as Stars exploited their defence, particularly in the first half when they scored two goals through Henrico Botes and Mogakolodi Ngele.

Chiefs, with a rejigged defence and midfield because of the absence of Eric Mathoho and suspended Reneilwe “Yeye” Letsholonyane, started off the better of the two sides when red-hot Lehlohonolo Majoro forced a save from Siyabonga Mpontshane early on in the game.

Since Mathoho had a slight glute strain, coach Stuart Baxter opted for Bafana left back Tsepo Masilela but the former Getafe defender showed his rustiness after his injury woes. He was replaced by Keegan Ritchie in the second half.

But it was Stars’ day and they made it count, not once but twice.

First, the Namibian international Botes fired a low shot into Itumeleng Khune’s right corner in the 16th minute after being fed by Thuso Phala, whose speed matched that of the GTI that got him into trouble with the law.

Phala was a constant menace to Chiefs’ defence as he caused all sorts of problems.

Then it was not long before Stars were 2-0 up and Khune had to once again retrieve a ball from his own net after Ngele’s long ball beat him after it took a deflection off Willard Katsande in the 25th minute.

It was all over for Chiefs, who tried to force their way back into the game in the second half but found Benson Mhlongo and company at the back uncompromising.

It was clear Chiefs missed the presence of Yeye in the middle of the park as his replacement Siyabonga Nkosi gave possession away.

He was booed by supporters and it was not surprising that he did not come back from recess. But the damage had already been done.

Baxter made three changes in the second half when he threw everything at Stars – to no avail.

Perhaps this is what Chiefs needed to ease the pressure of trying to maintain their unbeaten run. They should now approach their next matches without any undue pressure.

As for Stars, they need to keep their feet firmly on the ground and continue with the good work they have done so far, but only to try to be more consistent.