|Threedom: Jessica and the No3 shirt last week|
KAIZER CHIEFS will roll out their newly-acquired masterpieces – and their colourful new coach – for the first time in a competitive match at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on July 21 - against Moroka Swallows in an experimental one-day, four-team tournament.
The Amakhosi’s vast array of new signings – presumably including the elusive Mulomowandau “Tower” Mathoho – have been drawn to play against Moroka Swallows in the Gauteng Sports Challenge, a multi-sports event set up by the provincial department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation.
Chiefs today announced they are NOT chasing talented midfielder Erwin Isaacs or top scorer Eleazar Rodgers from relegated Santos but they should be able to show off Morgan Gould, Mathoho, Siboniso Gaxa, Kgotso Moleko, Brilliant Khuzwayo, Sakhile Hlongwa, Kingston Nkatha and Siyabonga Nkosi with new boss Stuart Baxter at the helm.
That means they could field as many as EIGHT new signings against Swallows if Nkatha is fit and goalkeeper Khuzwayo gets the No1 jersey ahead of Bafana’s Itumeleng Khune. Their new-look defence, featuring Gould, Mathoho and Belgium-honed Gaxa has to be among the best in the country right now.
It promises to be an eventful day at the stadium named after the legendary Masterpieces Moripe – PSL rivals SuperSport United and Bidvest Wits open proceedings at 10am before Chiefs take on Soweto rivals Swallows – also under new management following Gordon Igesund’s appointment as the new Bafana Bafana coach - at high noon. The two winners will play in the final at 5.15pm. Chiefs will face arch-rivals and champions Orlando Pirates in the Carlin Cup a week later.
Former Bafana boss Baxter, who has much to prove after controversy over his CV since his time in South Africa ten years ago, said: “I don't think there's anyone at Naturena who says we don't want to win.
"And we want very, very badly, very passionately to go on and lift the PSL title. That is something everyone associated with Kaizer Chiefs will tell you with all of their heart. No one can promise we will win the league. What we can promise is that the boys and the technical staff and supporters will give their back teeth to win the league.
"So, we will do everything that we can. We CAN promise every drop of blood in our body and every drop of sweat we can muster will go towards winning every game.
"And I'm not telling anybody they have to wait. There's no time like the present."
With general manager Bobby Motaung still mourning the loss of brother Thabo – he was buried last Saturday – it was sister Jessica who fronted the latest Chiefs press conference once more, just as she did last week when she famously unveiled six new signings and Tower’s No3 shirt.
Since then, two of the new signings – goalkeeper Khuzwayo and midfielder Nkatha – have turned out competitively for other teams and Tower himself remains unveiled.
Jessica failed to address injury concerns over Nkatha – he went off injured during Black Leopard’s CAF Confederations Cup clash in Sudan last Saturday – and exactly why we haven’t seen Tower in his No3 shirt yet.
But the glamorous Marketing Director, flanked by her new communications manager Vina Maphosa, said: “We are very excited to be participating in the Gauteng Sports Challenge in 2012. We are also happy to be supporting Gauteng. The tournament gives us an opportunity to prepare for the upcoming season.
“We are also happy to be meeting Moroka Swallows, one of the in-form teams last season. Games between the two sides have always been thrilling affairs and this upcoming one is not going to be any different.”
Speaking for the first time since his brother Thabo’s death, Bobby confirmed the Amakhosi will NOT be splashing out on Isaacs or Rodgers saying from Naturena today: "The coach wanted 28 players and he has 28 players. If we buy more players it means we must then move others.”
Treble-winning Pirates are now first in the queue for Rodgers, who scored 15 goals last season for lowly Santos.
New Swallows boss Zeca Marques, who steps up from No2 following Igesund’s call-up to national service, said: “People think a coach can just come in and wave a magic wand and “voila”, things happen. I know that is not the case.
“I was schooled in Portugal, so for me it’s all about creativity, flair and playing to win. That is the philosophy I will bring to the job.
“I know there will be great expectations, but the players realise that too and their ambition is the same as mine, to go out there and win trophies.
“Gordon had a very similar outlook last season and we shared ideas about how the team should play, that was brought out in the type of players we signed, guys like David Mathebula and Joseph Makhanya.
“We were always bouncing ideas between us and I had quite a bit of input. We shared the same vision and my vision for the team now has not changed much.”
Tickets for the Gauteng Challenge will go on sale at R50. 00 for adults and R20.00 for children under 12 years, from Monday at Computicket nationwide.