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Opinion: What 2022 brings for Chiefs in their title hopes

Kaizer Chiefs' title chances could receive a major boost in the turn of the new year, as they are currently the nearest challengers to leaders Mamelodi Sundowns

Chiefs climbed up to second spot on the log after thrashing neighbours Swallows 3-1 in the Soweto derby over the weekend, courtesy of a brace by Khama Billiat and a goal from Keagan Dolly. 

The victory triggered coaching changes at the Birds, as they relieved Brandon Truter and part of his technical team from their duties and have since appointed Dylan Kerr.

Stuart Baxter's charges are in contention to win the PSL's Q-Innovation prize for quarter-two, as they are currently leading the Q-2 table with ten points from five matches, two points ahead of second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns, who have played a match less.

Amakhosi are starting to pick up form after a shaky start, having won five of their last seven matches.

The turnaround came in a 4-0 win over Chippa United and another 2-1 win over SuperSport United, although they then lost 1-0 Stellenbosch, their only loss in their last seven matches.

The Glamour Boys responded with a 2-1 win over rivals Orlando Pirates in the Soweto derby and another narrow 1-0 win over Maritzburg United. 

Baxter's men were then held to a 1-1 draw by AmaZulu before hammering Swallows 3-1 over the weekend.

As a result, Chiefs are just eight points behind leaders Sundowns, who have a game in hand.

It's clear that Amakhosi will need a near-perfect run to catch-up with Sundowns and they also need them to slip up.

Manqoba Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena's charges do not look like losing a match but there were signs of fatigue getting the better of them in their two successive draws against Cape Town City (0-0) and SuperSport United (2-2), as the fixture schedule is starting to get congested.

That's where Chiefs will get an advantage next year when Sundowns resume their CAF Champions League campaign in the group stages. 

The CAF Champions League group stages are scheduled to start in February 2022 and the Brazilians will potentially have three competitions to deal with, including the Nedbank Cup. 

On the other hand, Chiefs will only be dealing with domestic matches and don't have to travel the length and breadth of the continent, which could give them the advantage. 

Amakhosi had this advantage in the 2019/20 season, leading the Premiership log for the majority of the campaign but lost the title on the final matchday, as their advantage was erased by the Covid-19 pandemic and their lack of squad depth was exposed in the bio-bubble, where teams were quarantined. 

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Amakhosi Brandon Truter Chiefs Kaizer Chiefs' Mamelodi Sundowns


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