Chiefs wary of rejuvenated  Stars

Chiefs wary of rejuvenated Stars

KAIZER Chiefs will welcome Free State Stars in the Telkom Knockout Cup quarterfinal clash at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Sunday.

Kick-off is at 3pm.

Amakhosi booked their place in the quarterfinals after beating Maritzburg United 4-2 on penalties at home following a goalless draw two weeks ago.

Since then the Soweto giants have gone on to record two consecutive draws in the Absa Premiership against Orlando Pirates and Baroka FC.

Chiefs remain the most decorated club in the League Cup which is now known as the Telkom Knockout Cup and they are looking to clinch their 14th title this year.

Last season’s finalists will look to their inspirational captain and goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, who has kept seven consecutive clean sheets.

Upfront, George Lebese knows that he needs to end his scoring drought and inspire Chiefs to victory this weekend.

Chiefs head coach Steve Komphela is wary of Stars, who are playing like a rejuvenated side following the return of Giovanni Solinas.

“With Free State Stars‚ we saw how they play. And then they’ve just changed the coach‚” Komphela said.

“Previously you could profile them based on players. Now they’ve got their previous mentor‚ the coach who had worked with them (Solinas). But their qualities will forever remain.

“Against (Bidvest) Wits‚ they gave one of their notorious qualities – their physique. So we need to be very careful – it’s not going to be an easy one.”

Meanwhile, Stars will be hoping to cause another Cup upset when they lock horns with Chiefs.

Three goals from Goodman Dlamini, Moeketsi Sekola and Danny Venter helped Ea Lla Koto stun Bidvest Wits 3-1 in extra-time in the Last-16 clash a fortnight ago.

The Bethlehem side have since registered two successive draws in the Absa Premiership against Highlands Park and Ajax Cape Town.

Stars have lifted the League Cup once in 1994. They will be hoping to go all the way this season and win their second title.

Dlamini is the player to watch out for in the Stars team. The former AmaZulu midfielder has netted three goals in his last four competitive matches.

In the goal-posts, Thela Ngobeni has been impressive in recent times. The former Chiefs goalkeeper will be keen to keep a clean sheet against his former employers.

Stars head coach Solinas is expecting a tough encounter against Chiefs, but he promised that his charges will fight for a victory.

“Looking at the TKO match, it’s going to be a big challenge for us,” Solinas said.

“Chiefs are a good team with good players, but we are going there to fight.

“As much as our priority is the league, we also want to do well in cup competitions.”

Chiefs and Stars have already met this season in the league. Amakhosi emerged 2-0 winners in Bethlehem two months ago. – SuperSport

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