Chippa to hunt without talisman
Injury could sideline star striker from crunch clash against the Amakhosi
Chippa United’s long-serving Andile Mbenyane could miss his team’s crucial Absa Premiership fixture against Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday afternoon at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
The striker sustained a hamstring injury during Chippa’s 2-0 loss to Cape Town City, which resulted in him missing the Polokwane City game.
Mbenyane has been a regular and one of the most influential players in the Chilli Boys squad this season.
In his 27 appearances for the Port Elizabeth-based professional soccer side, he scored six goals and has three assists.
Coach Clinton Larsen needs the input of experienced players like Mbenyane to help them win against the Glamour Boys on Saturday.
The 31-year-old player is heartbroken that, when needed most, he will not be available due to injury.
“I have not been training since my injury, so I am not too sure if I’ll make it to Saturday’s game,” said Mbenyane.
“When I missed the Polokwane match my heart was very sore because I knew the team needed me. We have a good team, so even if Andile or Thabo Rakhale do not play there are players that are capable of getting the job done.
“Most people maybe thought the team would not win against Polokwane, because Rakhale and Andile were not in the squad. But the players have proved them wrong.
“The coach has helped us a lot as the team on how to approach such games even when key players are not available.
“I know the team needs me, but this is football.”
The win against the Rise and Shine saw the Chilli Boys move from 15th to 13th position on the log. However, they are not out of the woods yet.
They are level on 27 points with 14th-placed Free State Stars and Black Leopards who are second from the bottom of the log.
Saturday’s game will decide Chippa’s future in top-flight football.
If the team survives Mbenyane believes some changes need to be done in the team.
“Sometimes you might not even know why you are in this position. However, I think the changing of coaches and players might be a contributor.
“I think we must start getting players now, and not wait for teams to give us their rejects. Maybe some of them (players) are not as passionate as we are about the team, because they know when the season ends they will go back to their clubs.
“I think we must sign players that really want to be part of the team. We must also promote some younger players from our development structures, because we also have to show that we believe in them.
“We have a good coach, someone who will change a lot of things in the club come next season. He just needs support from us as the players.”..