Ashley Du Preez hasn’t played for Kaizer Chiefs since the 1-0 defeat to Cape Town City in October. The team has struggled in his absence and fans were hoping to see him back on the pitch soon. But it now appears they may have to wait until 2024 to see Du Preez in action again.
He may not play again until after AFCON finals
According to the latest injury report, Du Preez could be out until February. Although there is hope he could return to the side against Sekhukhune United on 30 December.
If he’s not fit for that game, he won’t play for Kaiser Chiefs again until after the AFCON finals. That means waiting until February to see Du Preez return. Kaiser Chiefs are still in with a good chance of qualifying for the MTN8. While hopes of finishing in the top four have faded bookies like Premier Bet Mozambique believe the Glamour Boys could still make the top eight.
Chiefs’ injury list is ever-growing
Du Preez is not the only player the Chiefs are missing at this important stage of the season. Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune and attacking midfielder Keagan Dolly have also been unavailable. Both players bring experience that would benefit the side in the absence of Du Preez.
Not that Cavin Johnson is complaining. The former Al Ahly assistant manager is pragmatic and realizes the team just needs to get on with playing football. There are points to be won with the players he does have at his disposal.
What does Du Preez bring to the side?
Du Preez has a blistering pace and can play anywhere across the front line. He’s a creative forward who also brings goals.
His Kaiser Chiefs career has seen him score 12 goals in 43 appearances. These include goals in the quarter-final and both legs of the semi-final in last season’s MTN8. If the Chiefs are to qualify for the MTN8 this season, Du Preez’s goals are likely to be a major part of that success.
Nonetheless, it’s better for Du Preez to return 100% fit in February than rush back and risk further injury. But every point counts. The manager will want him back in December if it’s at all possible.
What are the Chief’s chances of qualifying for MTN8?
This season’s South African Premier Division is highly competitive. Teams all the way down to around 10th in the league (maybe even lower) will fancy their chances of qualifying. Top teams such as Cape Town City and Mamelodi Sundowns have little fear of missing out.
But for others still in the top eight, a slip-up will open the door to challengers. Any team that can put a run together between now and the end of the season is in with a chance of qualification. With key players out of the treatment room and on the pitch, Kaiser Chiefs will be among those with an eye on MTN8. Those key players include the excellent Ashley Du Preez.
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