Chiefs chase hat-trick of wins against impressive Stellies

Kaizer Chiefs will be in search of a hat-trick of 2021/22 DStv Premiership wins when they host an in-form Stellenbosch FC at FNB Stadium on Tuesday.

Kick-off is at 3:30pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).

Chiefs claimed a second straight victory when they defeated SuperSport United 2-1 away from home on October 24, thanks to a brace of goals from Bernard Parker.

The Amakhosi have claimed six points from three home matches this season, with their last result as hosts a 4-0 win over Chippa United in mid-October.

“We are getting there, we are doing things right and doing what the coaches need from each and every player,” said Chiefs utility player, Anthony Akumu, ahead of the tie. 

“Each team comes with different tactics, style of play and approach. We have our own approach and I believe we are going to be victorious, for us it is all about the three points (on Tuesday). 

“For us, we are going to try and do the right things, follow instructions of the coach (Stuart Baxter) and be there for each other,” he added. 

Second on the table Stellenbosch continued their strong league campaign – extending their unbeaten start to the season to eight matches – with a 1-0 home win over Marumo Gallants on October 27, with a goal from Ashley Du Preez.

The Maroons have claimed seven points from five away matches this season, with their last result on the road a 1-1 draw at Swallows FC in mid-October.

Stellies head coach Steve Barker believes Tuesday’s test will be his team’s toughest thus far in the current season and feels it will be a good barometer of how far they’ve come as a team.  

“I do (think this is our biggest test so far), for various reasons. Obviously the quality of our opposition, but they also seemed to have turned the corner and I am sure the confidence and belief is high (within the Chiefs camp),” said Barker. 

“This is also our fifth away game in nine, it is not easy to keep traveling so yes it will be a big test, a big challenge. I think it would be a good indicator of how far we’ve come as a team and what we are capable of achieving,” he added. 

In head-to-head stats, Stellenbosch and Chiefs have met in four top-flight league matches since the 2019/20 season. The Amakhosi boast an unbeaten record, with one win and three draws. The Soweto side’s two previous home games in the rivalry have both ended in draws.

Last season the teams cancelled each other out with a 0-0 draw at Danie Craven Stadium in January 2021 and a 2-2 draw at the FNB Stadium in April 2021, with goals from Leonardo Castro and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo for the Amakhosi and Nathan Sinkala and Phathutshedzo Nange for the Maroons.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: KAIZER CHIEFS

Bernard Parker: The veteran forward has come under scrutiny in recent times but stepped up with a brace in victory at SuperSport United last month. Parker is now Chiefs’ all-time leading goalscorer in the PSL era and still has an important role to play for Stuart Baxter’s Amakhosi both on and off the pitch. 

Keagan Dolly: Having now settled in his role at Naturena, Dolly has taken little time to showcase his unquestioned quality. The winger has notched up six goal involvements in his last three matches (3 goals and 3 assists), and teed up Parker for both his strikes in victory over SuperSport last time out. 

PLAYERS TO WATCH: STELLENBOSCH FC

Ashley du Preez: The forward has scored three goals this season, which is a quarter of the club’s league return. Du Preez only managed to find the back of the net two times last season, but has already passed that mark after eight rounds of fixtures in the current campaign. He will be eager to build on his new-found form as Stellies aim to build on their impressive start to the campaign. 

Nathan Sinkala: The midfield general has played every minute of league football for Stellenbosch so far this season. The Zambian has been key to Stellies’ strong start to the campaign and will have an important role to play in front of the club’s defensive line away to a revitalized Chiefs unit.  © Backpage TXT

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