Not only do the Eastern Cape-based team boast more Premiership experience than their play-off opponents, but they also have a better side on paper than the opposition.
Had it not been for poor leadership from the Chilli Boys’ hierarchy last season, there is a good chance that they would not even have had to focus on the added burden of the promotion/relegation battle.
They showed that they can compete against any team in top-flight football as they advanced to the final of the Nedbank Cup before losing against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (now rebranded as Marumo Gallants FC).
“We didn’t know what to expect until the game started because of the factors happening before the game,” said Chippa coach Lehlohonolo Seema.
“We had to play things by the ear, but I must compliment the players from both teams because it was not easy to prepare for this game.
Had it not been for some good defensive work from goalkeeper Ismail Watenga and veteran defender Kurt Lentjies, who produced a vital goal-line
clearance, the game could have ended with a different scoreline.
They will have to keep their mental strength high.
“We are happy that we got three points from the first match, but there is still a long way to go. We will now get to prepare better for the second game.”
Chippa’s next game will be against Royal AM of KwaZulu-Natal tomorrow.
It also remains to be seen if Royal AM will be able to respond positively after having lost their controversial court case to be awarded automatic promotion to the Premiership, following a controversial ending to the GladAfrica Championship (National First Division) season.