‘Defenders must stand up and deliver’
In the wake of injuries to Morgan Gould and Eric Mathoho, Tefu Mashamaite are one of the few first-choice defenders left available for Kaizer Chiefs, and the lanky centre back says the onus remains on the players selected to perform.
Chiefs face Bloemfontein Celtic in their Nedbank Cup quarterfinal clash at Free State Stadium on Saturday.
“The responsibility is always the same,” Mashamaite said on Wednesday.
“Whether Tower (Mathoho) is there, whether Morgan (Gould) is there, we all have a role to play in the field of play.
"It doesn't differ suddenly because Tower is not there. I still have to apply the same principles that I apply when Tower is there.”
The most experienced central defender in the squad, Mathoho said he would back his teammates.
“Every game from now on is going to be a challenge," he said.
“To say I'm the only real centre back remaining it would be a bit disrespectful to other centre backs. It's not a lost cause.”
According to the 23-year-old, who began his career at Celtic, the varying makeup of the team would not be a problem for the league leaders.
“As a football player you have to be ready to adjust to conditions and situations.
“It might be the weather or the pitch, it can be a whole lot of factors.
“You also have to adjust to the tactical approach that the coach might come up with on a particular day. Whether we play five at the back or four at the back we still have to go out and do the job.”
Chiefs striker Kingston Nkatha was pleased with the depth in the squad.
“With the spirit in our team, anyone can come in and deliver," Nkatha said.
“It doesn't matter if you played or you didn't play previously, you can come in and play and show the encouragement we usually get from our coach.”
Nkatha noted how teams played defensively against Chiefs – calling on extra men at the back to combat the strike power of Amakhosi – but it was not an area of great concern.
“There are teams who come to us who defend, who just want to get points against us," he said.
"But for us we just need to play our normal game and see what we can do that pleases the coach, and get a result out of it.”