The interactive nature of the Carling Black Label Cup is part of the charm of the event but it may leave Kaizer Chiefs without a specialist left back.
Fans vote for the starting XI of their choice after purchasing specially marked cans or bottles of the sponsor’s brew, but one might be forgiven for thinking a fair amount of Amakhosi fans have imbibed a little too much of said brew before casting their votes.
To be fair the blame doesn’t really sit with the fans so much as the way the voting system is structured.
As the voting currently stands Kaizer Chiefs backline is made up of the quartet of Eric Matoho, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Lorenzo Gordhino, Daniel Cardoso. This back four are likely to line up against Pirates on 27 July. The exact arrangement of the four will be left to coach Ernst Middendorp to puzzle out. Of the four only Mphahlele is an out-and-out fullback and all four are right-footed and unused to being deployed down the left flank. Gordhino, Matoho and Cardoso are all centre-backs but of the three the Portuguese defender is most at home out wide.
The sale of Teenage Hadebe has left Chiefs without a clear favourite for that position and it seems the split votes could be helping to ensure a left-footed option is kept out of the CBL starting XI.
A lack of clear options for the left back role within the squad hasn’t helped fans in making their choices. Despite sporting one of the bigger first-team squads in the PSL, Chiefs don’t have a whole lot of options in the position. Middendorp has attempted to make up for a lack of options in the position by deploying a 3-4-2-1 formation. Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya was the club’s first choice when deploying four at the back but he hasn’t garnered enough votes to crack the starting XI for the pre-season exhibition. After a few promising displays Happy Mashiane had his 2018/19 season cut short by injury, but the 21-year-old fullback was passed fit this week.
Mashiane, Ntiya-Ntiya and versatile left-sided player Philani Zulu would all be a more attractive option at fullback than a repurposed centre half but they will need to pick up some fan votes if they are to solve the Glamour Boys left back headache.
Like Orlando Pirates starting XI there has been no change to the starting XI as determined by fan voting since our last update.
Popular club captain and talismanic goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune has picked up the second most votes behind striker Bernard Parker and is expected to start the match between the sticks.
Up front, it now seems a foregone conclusion that Parker will be partnered by new signing Lazarous Kambole. In midfield Khama Billiat leads the way while fans have also thrown their weight behind attack-minded player Siphelele Ntshangase who comes in narrowly ahead of George Maluleka and veteran winger, and former Buccaneer, Joseph Malongoane.
Kaizer Chiefs CBL Cup starting XI
Bernard Parker – 89821 votes
Lazarous Kambole – 38176 votes
Khama Billiat – 19947 votes
Siphelele Ntshangase – 11887 votes
George Maluleka – 11725 votes
Joseph Malongoane – 11353 votes
Eric Matoho – 17193 votes
Ramahlwe Mphahlele – 13466 votes
Lorenzo Gordinho – 12714 votes
Daniel Cardoso – 12433 votes
Itumeleng Khune – 80770 votes
Note: Voting data correct as of 13:00 SAST on Friday 19 July.