Despite another chance to win a trophy slipping away, there was a sense of optimism from Kaizer Chiefs' performance against Orlando Pirates in the Carling Black Label Cup.
Soccer Laduma looks at five points to take from Chiefs' showing in the tournament after finishing third with a consolation penalty shootout win over AmaZulu.
1. Chiefs preparing for life without Billiat?
Amakhosi head coach Arthur Zwane made the strongest hint yet that he has confidence in young forward Mduduzi Shabalala, after he introduced him at half-time in place of Nkosingiphile Ngcobo in such a derby game. Zwane went on to commend the youngsters, after Samkelo Zwane was also thrown into the fray in the second stanza, for "changing the game", leading up to a disallowed goal by Ashley Du Preez. This publication has previously reported that Chiefs are in the process of reviewing Khama Billiat's contract situation, with his current deal ending next June. Billiat has not scored a goal so far this in 11 appearances season and the Siya crew previously stated that his form will be factor when the Amakhosi hierarchy sit down to map a way forward regarding his future at the club.
Read: Zwane Praises Youth Exuberance For Giving Pirates A Scare
2. First choice right-back settled between Solomons and Frosler?
Njabulo Ngcobo had to play out of position at right-back, after an unbalanced back-line voted by fans. In rectifying the situation, Zwane opted to bring on Dillan Solomons instead of Reeve Frosler to contain Monnapule Saleng, after he revealed that Pirates targeted that area occupied by Saleng. After the game Zwane praised Solomons for keeping Saleng quiet and said the Buccaneers forward was "nowhere to be seen". Solomons also got the nod at right wing-back in the league win over the Sea Robbers.
3. Tower to be back in contention for a centre-back spot?
Defender Eric Mathoho still has confidence from supporters, despite his lack of game time, after he was voted in the line-up. Mathoho did not disappoint and played the whole game in the derby. Chiefs have been leaking a lot of goals so far this, with 15 goals conceded in 13 league games. Would Mathoho, whose contract is also ending in June, fight for a place in the line-up and resurrect his career at Amakhosi?
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4. Chiefs in good hands should Blom leave?
Njabulo Blom's contract is coming to an end next June and it's an open secret that his camp are not happy with Chiefs' proposal to extend his stay at the club, as previously revealed by Soccer Laduma. Blom was conspicuous by his absence in the tournament and another academy graduate, Zwane, has shown flashes of quality whenever introduced in midfield, after another good showing after replacing Phathutshedzo Nange.
5. Du Preez getting back to his best?
Forward Ashley Du Preez seems to be finally finding his footing especially after the injury of forward Bonfils-Caleb Bimenyimana. Du Preez has revelled in the spaces behind the defence using his pace and was once again a problem for Pirates defence after scoring a goal that was incorrectly disallowed, according to referee experts on national TV review shows. The former Stellenbosch forward followed up on his good showing in the league derby clash where he had two golden one-on-one chances smothered by goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane.
Read: Zwane: Why Blom Is Indispensable
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