Chiefs wary of Supersport United

SuperSport United begin the post-Kaitano Tembo era with a trip to the FNB Stadium for a DStv Premiership encounter against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 7:30pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).

Tembo was sacked by Matsatsantsa on Tuesday to bring an end to his 23-year association with the club, who appointed Andre Arendse as his successor on an interim basis until the end of the season.

The Pretoria giants felt that their former defender's position had become untenable after the 3-2 defeat to TTM in the Nedbank Cup quarterfinals last Friday.

Arendse's first task will be to arrest a four-match winless streak in the league, which has left SuperSport eighth in the standings on 31 points, eight adrift of the top three which brings with it CAF Football.

However, Arendse indicated that the mood in the camp is positive, saying: "The most important thing that stood out for me in our training sessions so far leading up to this game is the vibe.

"There's an intensity about training, there's a willingness to do things...and what that shows me is that people are putting their hands up for starting XI selections and that's really good.

"Any coach will tell you that it's wonderful nightmare to have in terms of who to play in a specific game and I think that's the thing that will drive us this week."

Amakhosi will target a return to winning ways after being held to a goalless draw by struggling TS Galaxy last week.

The titans of Soweto trail Royal AM by four points in third position with two games in hand, although they are still awaiting the PSL's decision on whether those fixtures will be rescheduled, having failed to honour them in December due to an outbreak of Covid at Naturena.

Chiefs head coach Stuart Baxter admits he doesn't know what to expect from Matsatsantsa following the departure of Tembo, but is more concerned with getting his team's top-two challenge back on track.

"People usually say you don't want to play against a team that has just changed a coach because no matter what there will be an effect," he said. "Because Kaitano is both a friend and colleague, it is a shame that he had to leave his post.

"Sometimes the club benefits or doesn't benefit - the pros and cons of that one I don't know. Whether we will find a fired-up SuperSport or a SuperSport in disarray we should just concentrate on our game to be honest."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kaizer Chiefs

Khama Billiat: Chiefs have leaned heavily on the Zimbabwean star this season in the absence of Leo Castro. Billiat has contributed six goals and eight assists in 19 appearances, which is already his best return in the gold and black colours for a single season.

Keagan Dolly: The off-season signing from Montpellier has also shouldered the goalscoring burden for Amakhosi and is their top scorer with seven from 21 outings, while also having a hand in another four by setting up his team-mates to score.

SuperSport United

Onismor Bhasera: As a former goalkeeper, Arendse will be looking to shore up his defence first and foremost after seeing the team keep just two clean sheets in their last 10 matches. He will be counting on veteran defender Bhasera to help marshal the backline, with the 36-year-old having featured in 22 of their 24 games this season.

Gamphani Lungu: The Zambian attacker has started to play a more influential role for Matsatsantsa of late, scoring in two of his last four appearances to join Thamsanqa Gabuza on six goals for the campaign.