Football is savvy and dramatic. It has an age-long tendency of delivering unpredictable results. Some call it the world’s most beautiful game, while some have retorted, ‘it will kill you’.
Kaizer Chiefs and their opponents on Tuesday night, Cape Town City’s recent fortunes scale directly into the aforementioned scenario. Disappointing cup beatings at the hands of TS Galaxy and Royal AM, respectively have left both wounded and under scrutiny from those associated with their brands. FARPost Intelligence Unit looks at Tuesday evening’s encounter between the two teams.
1. Confused Baxter
Chiefs mentor Stuart Baxter faces the mammoth task of turning Amakhosi’s fortunes around. However, Chiefs’ current conundrum is of his own doing. Baxter has failed to foster a consistent starting line-up.
Bernard Parker has been deployed top in a three-man attack, in midfield as an anchor and occasionally as a striker. The trio of Njabulo Blom, Reeve Frosler and Njabulo Ngcobo have occupied unfamiliar spots within the Brit’s tactical confusion.
2. Chiefs lacks identity
Reigning DSTV Premiership champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, have a clear playing identity. The Brazilians’ playing philosophy is characterised by the following:
• A well-drilled 1-4-4-2 attacking system
• Possession-based game infused with short-passing elements
• Overlapping fullbacks
• Wingers or wide midfielders operating in half-spaces with maximum freedom
• Strikers afforded the space to move sideways, deep or stay top.
What about Chiefs’ approach under Baxter? ‘Amakhosi’ has displayed the following tactical traits.
• Rushed and uncoordinated build-up play
• Lack of clear plan in midfield third
• Inability to keep the ball longer
• Too many forward and diagonal balls
• Incoherent attacking line irrespective of who is playing
3. City’s integration process
City’s model is clear and straightforward. Their plan is to acquire free and sell at a premium. In this January transfer window, the club’s model was confirmed. Elegant Suprise Ralani joined Sundowns, Abbubaker Mobara was reunited with former coach Benni McCarthy at AmaZulu and Fagrie Lakay entered the Pyramids’ gates in Egypt.
As expected, City has started the process of integrating new players. Mogamat May, Darwin Gonzalez and Kajally Brimmah were all recently drafted. Given the battles ahead in the league, this integration agenda must unfold quickly.
4. Mayo factor
The sale and release of players at City will benefit fringe squad members. Under the guidance of Eric Tinkler, ‘The Citizens’ have a clear starting personnel. Furthermore, their efficient style of play easily discards players not fitting the club’s profile.
In the Nedbank Cup Last 32 exit, one player benefiting immensely. Khanyisa Mayo got a rare start and scored a goal in the 2-1 loss at Royal AM. A prolific scorer and set-piece specialist, Mayo will relish the opportunity to play more and maybe, fulfil his vast potential.
5. What are the stakes
Tinkler has full support from City’s chairman. His mandate is to fuse in the new players, create synergy and finish in a respectable place on the log. Baxter’s circumstances are entirely different; besides dealing with an unhappy support base, he also has Arthur Zwane’s ghost hovering over him.
The pressure is more on Baxter than Tinkler. Nevertheless, games between the two teams always deliver epic excitement.