“We are at that stage of the league season when cool heads and professionalism must prevail,” insists Kaizer Chiefs assistant-coach Doctor Khumalo. The Amakhosi legend took charge of the proceedings during a hard-fought victory against a stubborn AmaZulu. It finished 1-0, courtesy of a clinical finish by Man-of-the-Match Bernard Parker.
“We are professionals,” continues Khumalo, who stood in for the suspended head coach Stuart Baxter. “It is all in the mind. By the look of things, pressure is mounting on the players and the match officials alike.” The former said this with a wry smile, while reflecting on some of the controversial decisions by the match officials, including the sending off of Itumeleng Khune.
Khumalo heaps praise on the team effort, “We didn’t have a chance to watch AmaZulu’s match against Free State Stars, but the players really came together, fighting hard for the three points.” Chiefs were out of town playing the CAF Champions League match against Raja Casablanca in Morocco when Usuthu beat Free State Stars. “Still, we prepared well, knowing that Stevie (Barker, AmaZulu’s head coach) is smart.”
On the referee’s decision, Khumalo added: “We will watch the recordings and, if Khune was at fault, we will take the necessary remedial steps. We have systems in place to deal with such situations. Khune is one of the senior players in the team, so he knows what is expected of him.”
The league race is far from over according to Khumalo. This is despite the chasing pack dropping points in their midweek matches. “We planned for this match before we left Morocco. The next game is always the most important. We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves,” adds Khumalo. “We will only celebrate after we have collected all the points we need to secure the league title.”
Amakhosi coach Baxter watched the match from the stands, because he is serving a two-game suspension for the red card he received during Chiefs’ encounter against Black Leopards for the Nedbank Cup. This means that Khumalo will also sit on the bench for the away game against Tuks on Tuesday.