Ahead of the start of the second half of the 2011/12 PSL season and Kaizer Chiefs match against Jomo Cosmos, Amakhosi coach Vladimir Vermezovic admits his strikers cannot produce the same poor performances they did in the first half of the season.
The Phefeni Glamour Boys will kick-start the second half of their season in Port Elizabeth at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium when they take on last placed Jomo Cosmos in an Absa Premiership match, kick-off at 19h30.
Chiefs, presently in third place, have only scored 16 goals in their opening 15 league matches which is a dreadful return considering the two teams above them on the log, SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns, have scored 25 and 30 goals respectively.
While coach Vermezovic is happy with his side’s defensive showing in the first half of the season (best defensive record with only ten goals conceded), he confesses that his strikers need to buck-up and he believes they will.
“Our strikers cannot repeat the same performance from first half of the season. The vacation is over; holiday is over! Now it is time to work and I believe in my team and its players,” said the Amakhosi mentor.
But up against a Cosmos side who are fighting relegation, Vermezovic knows it will be no walk in the park especially without the likes of Siphiwe Tshabalala (ankle) and Reneilwe Letsholonyane (knee) who are out injured. Still, the Chiefs coach believes he has the players to fill the gap.
“He (Tshabalala) will be out for game against Jomo Cosmos, but in Shaba’s place we have Josta Dladla, (Mthokozisi) Yende, even George Lebese – of course Shaba and Yeye are big players but we have quality to fill their place. We have good quality in our team and I think they are ready to push each other.
“Against Cosmos it will be a very tough game. It is always difficult to play a team fighting relegation. We are also expecting a physical game, but we need good start to second half season,” said Vermezovic.
And a tough time is exactly what Cosmos’ captain and goalkeeper, Avril Phali, is planning on giving Chiefs as they look to revenge their 2-1 loss to the Phefeni Glamour Boys in the opening match of the league season.
“Since losing to the Amakhosi in our first Premier League game of the season, we have learnt a lot of lessons. I think it’s going to be a more difficult game this time and as I see it they cannot stand in our way. They must expect a war.
“We are going to give Chiefs a run for their money and they should expect some sort of physical combat as well. We’ll make them feel the heat and that’s a promise,” emphasizes Phali.
13 places and 19 points separate the two teams in the Absa Premiership at present and a lot lies at stake for both teams. Cosmos are trying to fight off relegation and a win could see them jump as many as two places on the table into 14th spot while a win for Chiefs could see them occupy second spot after round 16 of the PSL.