Kaizer Chiefs coach Vela Khumalo has explained his decision to include first-team players in their Soweto derby opening match of the 2023-24 DStv Diski Challenge season against Orlando Pirates.
Amakhosi came from behind to secure a point in a 1-1 draw against the Buccaneers at Solomon Mahlangu Stadium in Mpumalanga on Sunday.
In what came as a huge surprise, Amakhosi featured the likes of Mduduzi Shabalala (19), Aden McCarthy (20) and Wandile Duba (19) in their starting 11.
The duo have been part of the first team since they were promoted at the beginning of last season.
Khumalo said their inclusion was simply because the players need mileage in their legs.
He explained: “With regard to Mduduzi, Duba and Aden we wanted to give them game time.”
“It has been hectic on that side [first team], We want to get results from the first team and they don’t get that game time. They still belong here; they are young and they still can do it. I am happy with how they played; it has been a long for them since they played a competitive game,” Khumalo added.
The duo was promoted to the Amakhosi’s first team at the beginning of last season by coach Arthur Zwane.
Shabalala has been making cameo appearances since the season started, while Duba has yet to make an appearance under coach Molefi Ntseki.
On Sunday, Chiefs Diski challenge mentor Vela Khumalo was hoping their presence would help them end the Buccaneers' recent domination over them but the Buccaneers were able to grind a point.
In their last five meetings Chiefs have only won once, drew twice and Pirates won both of last season’s matches home and away.
The two sides will be back in action again next weekend as they both travel to Durban. Pirates will face Richards Bay atRead on supersport.com