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Kaizer Chiefs receive major boost in CAF push

Kaizer Chiefs have received a massive boost as they look to finish the 2023/24 DStv Premiership season strong in their quest to qualify for the CAF Confederation Cup.

The Soweto giants, under the tutelage of interim coach Cavin Johnson, are eyeing a top-three finish as they are set to conclude the season trophyless once again.

With the DStv Premiership title, MTN8, Nedbank Cup and Carling Knockout all gone, they’ve been left chasing a CAF spot.

A third-place finish would, at least, see them qualify to play continental football – the CAF Confederation Cup next season.

However, recent results, post-AFCON, have not gone their way, as they have only won one game. Their only win of 2024 came against Golden Arrows, a 1-0 win courtesy of a Wandile Duba strike in a league clash at FNB Stadium.

They have played eight matches in all competitions since the turn of the new year. The Glamour Boys have won one, drew three and lost four.

And with seven games left before the curtain comes down on the 2023/24 seasons, Chiefs can still finish third if they win all their remaining games. They are eighth on the log with 30 points from 23 matches. If they win the remaining seven matches, it will take them to 51 points, enough for a third-place finish, depending on other results, of course.

Despite Chiefs’ recent poor form, interim coach Johnson has not given up on continental football as he said that his troops will push for the DStv Premiership top-three to quality for either the CAF Champions League or Confed Cup.

“Yes, it is a tall order, but we will play until the fat lady sings because you don’t know what will happen to the other teams above us. We have to compete until the last, the league is at 30 games. Until that last game I don’t think we comment about whether we will play in Africa or not,” said Johnson.

Thatayaone Ditlhokwe of Kaizer Chiefs in action
Thatayaone Ditlhokwe

Thatayaone Ditlhokwe’s return a big boost for Chiefs

As they chase that third-place spot, Johnson will be pleased to welcome back highly-rated defender Thatayaone Ditlhokwe.

The Botswana national captain was establishing himself in the Amakhosi starting line-up until a shoulder injury sidelined him.

The 25-year-old picked up the injury while on national duty. At the time, he had made 16 appearances in all competitions after joining Amakhosi from SuperSport on a free transfer. The last time he featured for Amakhosi was against Orlando Pirates in the first Soweto Derby on 11 November 2023.

Ditlhokwe has missed 13 matches in all competitions due to the injury. However, news reaching FARPost is that the man nicknamed ‘TT’ has returned to full training with the team and could soon return to action.

His partnership with Given Msimango looked to be developing well until injury struck.

In his absence, Johnson has used Edmilson Dove as a left centre-back, with Njabulo Ngcobo also featuring in some games.

When available and fit, the former Matsatsantsa defender is a natural choice for that left centre-back slot.

Meanwhile, the Soweto giants still need to wait a little longer for the return of star player Keagan Dolly.

Indications are that the veteran midfielder could miss the remainder of the season due to the toe fracture he is nursing. The 31-year-old is out of contract in June and had hoped to impress and get a new deal.

However, injuries have hampered him this season, limiting him to eight outings only.

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