FREE State Stars are geared up for their decisive encounter against Kaizer Chiefs in a potentially intriguing Absa tie to be played at Charles Mopeli Stadium tomorrow.
Kick-off is at 15:30.
The Bethlehem-based outfit have not found their battles easy against a resurgent Amakhosi currently basking in the glory of their 4-1 demolition of Polokwane City on Wednesday night.
And Steve Komphela knows the tough assignment before him against the reigning league champions is not going to be a walk in the park.
“It’s going to be a difficult match and by our standards we have not been doing so well,” Komphela told the Free State Times this week.
“However, Kaizer Chiefs’ win on Wednesday places them in a better position but we are well aware of that.”
He however says Ea Lla Kotla, lying 10th on the current standings, are prepared for the battle against the third-placed Amakhosi.
“We are ready, ready all round. We know Chiefs’ strengths and weaknesses and we are well prepared for them,” Komphela said.
The coach is not perturbed even after faltering in the Telkom Knock-Out quarterfinals at the hands of Chiefs through a penalty shoot-out and his team’s failure to register a win against Amakhosi in the past two years.
“We want to come out after the match knowing we would have done all we know and our best,” he said.
And his camp has no injury or suspension worries.
“Daniel Cardoso is the only one still nursing a fractured chin,” Komphela said.
“Otherwise the rest of the players are available. We will see who is better prepared for the match on Saturday.”
However, with Kaizer Chiefs enjoying a fair share of supporters around Bethlehem, Amakhosi communications manager Vina Maphosa is not treating the crunch tie against Free State Stars as an away match.
“Playing against Free State Stars in the Free State is like playing at home away from home,” he said.
“Yes, it’s going to be tough and competitive but we are going out in search of a win.
“Our ambition is to stay in the leading pack and we are going out for maximum points.
“It’s a journey, it’s not a collection and we will fight for three points against Free State Stars.”
Maphosa added: “It’s very difficult after being defeated in the Telkom Cup last week and now we are redeeming ourselves.
“Our performance will show our clear straightforward intentions to take the league again.”
Certainly Ea Lla Kotla’s defence must be on their toes to contain the marauding Kaizer Chiefs striking force led by Bernard Parker who is undoubtedly at the peak of his career.
Having scored a brace on Wednesday night, Maphosa believes Parker is capable of carrying the day for Amakhosi again.
“Bernard is a soldier and a workalcoholic. He doesn’t get disappointed when we lose and he is proving to be good goal scorer and good feeder of the ball,” he said.
“We are most likely to have Knowledge Musona and Morgan Gould to feature if they are selected.”
However, Kaizer Chiefs will be missing the services of Josta Dladla who was given his marching orders on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, Bloemfontein Celtic face a tricky assignment against an unpredictable Golden Arrows at Kaizer Sebothelo on Wednesday night.
Despite failing to win against Siwelele in more than 10 games, Golden Arrows ambushed Clinton Larsen’s Maritzburg United a fortnight ago with a 2-1 win and Siwelele must be on guard lest they bite the dust too.