Ahead of tomorrow’s Telkom Knockout final against rivals Mamelodi Sundowns at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, Letsholonyane - himself struggling to recapture the kind of performances that helped Amakhosi clinch a league and cup double in the previous campaign - said the players owed it to the fans to deliver a knockout blow when they face the Brazilians.
“The difference is that we started with a lot of draws and that meant we didn’t start well in the Premier League. We know what our fans expect from us - for us to be top of the table by this time. It’s not the case, and yes, we haven’t lost a lot of games, but they want wins not draws,” Letsholonyane said yesterday.
“We understand as players, and we don’t blame them for wanting that because we set the standard for them. So, they know what we can do. And if we don’t deliver, they will obviously become frustrated and say things. But we know we have to make them happy.”
Chiefs are fifth in the league standings, a mere six points adrift of log leaders Bidvest Wits - the two sides clash in Cape Town on Saturday - but their position on the table isn’t necessarily the talking point.
In September, coach Steve Komphela had an opportunity to announce his arrival at the club with a trophy when Chiefs were pitted against Ajax Cape Town in the final of the MTN8 in Port Elizabeth. However, and much to the dismay of the Amakhosi faithful, it was the Urban Warriors who were crowned champions with a narrow 1-0 victory.
The jury has been out on Komphela, who took over from Stuart Baxter in June, ever since.
“We looked at the previous final and we acknowledge that we didn’t play well, both as a team and as individuals, during that game,” Letsholonyane said.
“We can only learn from that and we can only do better in our next game. We are working hard at training to try and do better than we did previously. It’s good that we are going back to doing our job because it has been a long three weeks (the PSL was on recess due to the CAF Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations) with us training and not playing games.”
Sundowns have never beaten Chiefs in a cup final during the PSL era, a slight psychological boost for Letsholonyane and his teammates. The midfielder applauded the Brazilians for recovering from their tepid start to the campaign, which had also led to questions being asked about whether coach Pitso Mosimane was the right man for the job.
“Sundowns have quality players and have been doing well in the league and the cup. It means more hard work and dedication is needed from us to win, and that everyone must come to the party. I believe that we should point to the records only after the game because when you win, you add to the statistics. But as things stand, that record doesn’t get us the trophy. We will have to work hard on the day to keep it that way,” Letsholonyane said. - The Star
Original source: ‘Chiefs must do better’