Kaizer Chiefs have gone into the FIFA calendar break faced with making a sober review of how their season has progressed to date with only a third of their league campaign now left to play.
Chiefs reached the 20 games mark in the league over the weekend with a home defeat to Golden Arrows after Mulomowandau Mathoho blundered to hand Knox Mutizwa an ‘assist’ for the goal which eventually made the difference at FNB Stadium.
The defeat to Arrows came just a day after the Advocate Nazeer Cassim SC handed an arbitration ruling that Chiefs play the two games that they failed to fulfil in December against Cape Town City and Arrows on covid related reasons.
This means Chiefs now have 10 games to play before the curtain comes down on a campaign that now has the prize of continental football left to play for after failing at the first attempt in both the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup.
After playing 20 league games, AmaKhosi have found a seat in third place having collected 35 points.
They have two games in hand over second-placed Royal AM (37 points) while they have played three matches less than leaders and champions-elect Mamelodi Sundowns (51 points).
While a title challenge and unseating Sundowns from the top might be a big ask playing continental football next season is within their grasp.
Second place carries a Champions League ticket while third place secures Confederation Cup football.
Under Stuart Baxter – who has been labelled as a defensive coach by many – Chiefs have the joint second-best defence in the league having conceded 16 goals just like Sekhukhune United.
Sundowns have the best defence having conceded 12.
Only twice this season have Chiefs conceded more than one goal in a single match which was in the 4-1 humiliation by Royal AM and the 2-0 loss to Sundowns.
Daniel Akpeyi has conceded seven in 12 games while keeping five clean sheets, Bruce Bvuma has conceded four in four games with a single clean sheet while Brandon Petersen has conceded five in four games with two clean sheets.
What is certain is that come end of the season Chiefs will not have conceded 37 like they did last season.
At the other end, AmaKhosi have scored 24 and their numbers show that they have the sixth sharpest attack in the league behind Sundowns (40), Royal AM (30), Orlando Pirates, and SuperSport United (both on 27) and Arrows (26).
The pair of Khama Billiat and Keagan Dolly have scored half of the 24 goals with Bernard Parker (3) and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo (2) the only other players with more than one goal.