Chippa in survival race
Chilli Boys need to win against City to keep non-relegation hopes alive
Chippa United vice-captain Andile Mbenyane is confident that whoever will replace him and Thabo Rakhale will fight to the bitter end to save the team from relegation when they take on Polokwane City at Old Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane.
Both Mbenyane and Rhakale are out with injuries, and this comes at a crucial time when PE-based outfit is desperate for manpower it can muster to fight relegation.
With two games remaining, Chippa have collected 24 points which are languishing them in the relegation zone. And Mbenyane cannot be there when the team needs him most after going for a scan on Monday.
Mbenyane sustained the knee injury during their game against Cape Town City, where they were defeated 2-0 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. The doctors said that the knock was serious and could take about seven days to fully heal.
Both Mbenyane and Rakhale missed training during the week and have been left out of the squad to Polokwane.
He said this was a chance for other players to use the opportunity to save the team from relegation.
“I have been having sleepless nights since I was given the news of my injury,” he said.
He admitted that the team has been under immense pressure since dropping points, which plunged them into the quagmire.
“It’s obvious that things are tough so I can’t lie and say there’s no pressure in the team. We are feeling the heat.”
Chippa’s dire situation has worsened by the apparent resurgence of basement dwellers Maritzburg United.
“After Maritzburg beat Black Leopards our lead was cut to just one point and that is heaping massive pressure on us.”
The relegation battle has been a see-saw affair with some teams getting points while others are dropping them.
This has given Chippa hope to stage a great escape.
“A least other teams in the relegation zone are dropping points as well, like Baroka and Free State Stars, so least we have a fighting chance.”
Chippa coach Clinton Larsen has been leading the club from the front urging his troops to fight until the end.
This has rubbed off on the players, transforming the mood in the camp to a positive one.
“We have a good coach who knows how to motivate the team so we remain positive,” he said.
“The players are prepared to fight for each other to save the team and I am confident that whoever comes on in my place and Thabo’s [Rakhale] will use the opportunity to produce the goods because the team really needs it now.
“And the team we have is a formidable side and I don’t think we deserve to be at the bottom of the standings.
“But we need to show football lovers in the country and in the province that we still deserve to play in the PSL. We can only do that if we survive relegation and that’s with the game against City.”
Despite the odds heavily stacked against them Mbenyane is confident that the team will avoid the drop. “We have to make sure that we survive and keep the club in top- flight football for the people of Eastern Cape because they love this team and they’ve supported us through thick and thin.”
After Polokwane, Chippa will welcome Kaizer Chiefs at home in a match that will afford them a chance for revenge after they were knocked out of the Nedbank Cup by Chiefs...