A FRIEND of mine usually prays for Kaizer Chiefs to lose whenever they play a game. I’ve often told the man he’s a few clowns short of a circus because he thinks nothing of making this little announcement even when he is sitting in the stands among the Chiefs supporters.
The insatiable appetite to see Chiefs suffer dates back to the 1990s when some referee ruled against his beloved Mthatha Bucks in a top-flight match he claims the now-relegated Eastern Cape side would have won had it not been for what he terms ‘‘erratic" officiating.
He has been self-appointed life chairman of the ABC (Anybody but Chiefs) faction since that game.
It had been more than four years since I last saw his mug until I picked out his imposing frame from the crowd as he rushed into East London Airport to catch a flight on Saturday morning. Our exchange did not last longer than a minute but he was not going to be denied his usual parting shot.
He matter-of-factly said that his usual prayers to see Chiefs fail have become more intense over the past few weeks, but the problem is ‘‘the club just cannot stop winning".
Indeed. The thing is, Amakhosi are purring along like a well-oiled machine and they’ve managed to break a few records along the way. Stuart Baxter’s charges have not looked back since beating Free State Stars 1-0 through a lone George Lebese strike on a dismal pitch at Charles Mopeli Stadium on the opening day of the campaign on August 9.
They’ve had a certain swagger about them since then and journalists have been scrambling to verify their list of achievements over the past 10 weeks. Chiefs set a new domestic premiership record of 15 successive wins after beating the then second-placed Ajax Cape Town 1-0 in a top-of-the-table encounter at a packed Cape Town Stadium on Sunday.
Stuart Baxter’s charges have not looked back since beating Free State Stars 1-0 through a lone George Lebese strike on a dismal pitch at Charles Mopeli Stadium on the opening day of the campaign on August 9.
Tefu Mashamaite’s header just after halftime broke the Mamelodi Sundowns record and set the new benchmark — two league triumphs at the end of last season, eight in the league and five in cup competition in this campaign.
More records are up for grabs and Chiefs fans have taken to describing the club as an unstoppable train.
One e-mail from an excited fan who often labels me ‘‘a closet Orlando Pirates fan" describes Chiefs as a fighter jet flying at an altitude of 60 000 feet above sea level.
This flight analogy is rather interesting as Chiefs play Moroka Swallows in a league match that is peppered with intrigue.
The flightless Birds parted ways with coach Zeca Marques this week after a poor run of results that had incensed supporters who have been left frothing at the mouth.
Former Chiefs star Fani Madida has taken over the Birds on an interim basis and it is rather interesting that his first outing on Wednesday night also happens to be against the club he served with distinction between 1987 and 1992. You couldn’t script this stuff.
So, is Madida the man to succeed where so many before him have failed? The Chiefs fans do not seem to think so and we will know in a few hours’ time how things pan out.
While all the hype is centred on the record books, Baxter is wily enough to know that they will not mean diddly-squat if Chiefs do not have anything to show for it at the end of the season in May next year.
Baxter, of all people, will not forget how his charges seemed to be cantering towards the league title after yet another unbeaten run at the beginning of the year. But Sundowns put together an unbeaten run of their own to pull the rug from under Chiefs’ feet.
The Briton is not likely to forget that kind of heartbreak in a hurry and will be a lot more cautious than the supporters.
The fact is, my friend’s prayers will not go unanswered indefinitely and the trick with this football is to always be ready for all possibilities, in what can be a cruel game.