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Football | Absa Premiership

Noah Chivuta © Backpagepix

Stars to compound Chippa's woes



Tuesday evening’s clash between Free State Stars and Chippa United will see two teams with completely different mindsets meet at the Charles Mopeli Stadium for their first Absa Premiership fixtures of 2013, kick-off at 6pm.

Steve Komphela’s side lit up the domestic campaign in 2012 by ringing in some impressive results all while surging up the table and they will be looking to continue with their impressive form, which sees them sit in fourth place and having not lost a league game in eight fixtures.

It will be the first game since the campaign came to a standstill in December 2012, and the return has Noah Chivuta holding a slight fear of what the two month break may have brought his squad.

“The break has been tough in the sense that we were doing well before the break and that we couldn’t keep the momentum going. It was a long break,” says the Zambian international.

“Yes [we are concerned about match fitness], we have had a few friendlies but it is not the same. It is a little bit of a concern.

“I think everyone will first be slow as they have been pressing hard in training and the bodies are hurting. Hopefully we can start how we ended.”

The Chilli Boys’ problems only but spilled over from the field to their offseason period, in which they replaced Farouk Abrahams with Ajax Cape Town’s assistant coach Wilfred Mugeyi - the fifth coach to take over at Chippa this season alone.

Their continuous overhaul has highlighted Chippa as the joke of the 2012/2013 season, but the 2012 African Cup of Nations winner insists that they will give the Cape club the respect they deserve.

“It is their own fault that they are in that position but we will give them the respect they deserve,” added Chivuta.

“We respect Chippa. They are a good team and they will be fighting for survival. They will come here to get the points but we will not give them the chance.

“We just hope we can finish in a good position on the log.”

Mugeyi was not the only new arrival being welcomed in at Philippi over the summer, with Joshua Sauls, Masibusane Zongo, Mbulelo Mabizela, Phumelele Bhengu and Stanton Lewis all forming part of the transfer revolution.

For the latter, this fixture will officially mark his return to Cape football for the first time since leaving the city in 2011 for Kaizer Chiefs and he is hoping he can provide some aid in the relegation scrap.

“It feels amazing [to be back]. This is where I had a lot of success and returning home to all the good memories will make me want to achieve more,” confesses Lewis.

“Yes I do think my experience will help save Chippa, it won't be easy but I think it will be more of a team effort. I will always give 120 percent for the club.”

The striker is well aware that playing away to Free State Stars is by no means an easy task and he admits the club will be happy coming away with a draw.

“It is probably one of the hardest away games in the PSL,” he adds. “We are ready to fight and give it our all down there. A single point is valuable to us, so the least we will be coming back with is a draw.

“We have prepared well and we had the same amount of time as Free State in terms of time off. I'm sure we will be able to compete and complete.”

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