Manyama ends 26-month goal drought to help Kaizer Chiefs win

German coach Ernst Middendorp has guided South African Premiership leaders Kaizer Chiefs to six wins in eight matches this season (AFP Photo/Anesh Debiky)
German coach Ernst Middendorp has guided South African Premiership leaders Kaizer Chiefs to six wins in eight matches this season (AFP Photo/Anesh Debiky)

Johannesburg (AFP) - Lebogang Manyama ended a 26-month South African Premiership goal drought by scoring twice as Kaizer Chiefs began the new season with a 3-2 win at Highlands Park Sunday.

The former South Africa midfielder opened the scoring after five minutes in front of a capacity 10,000 crowd at Makhulong Stadium 45 kilometres (28 miles) northeast of Johannesburg.

After Highlands had gone ahead with goals either side of half-time from Rodney Ramagalela and Namibian Peter Shalulile, Manyama struck again on 50 minutes to equalise.

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An Eric Mathoho shot seven minutes from time which took a wicked deflection won the match for Chiefs, one of the most popular football clubs in the country but without a trophy since 2015.

"We have been through a rough patch over the last couple of years but I think today we showed what can be achieved and the team can only get better from here," Manyama said.

It was an encouraging start for Chiefs at a ground where few visiting teams win as the Soweto outfit seek to put a disastrous last season behind them.

They finished a humiliating ninth in the Premiership and were stunned by second-tier TS Galaxy in the FA Cup final.

Chiefs changed coaches midway through the 2018/2019 campaign with German Ernst Middendorp replacing Italian Giovanni Solinas.

"We had the edge over Highlands Park in quality and had to be patient," said Middendorp, who has been resident in South Africa for more than a decade.

"The crowd was amazing today and this is the season where we have to play for our supporters. We attract many capacity crowds and then do not show up.

"But I think the situation is going to get better," added Middendorp, who previously coached Chiefs a decade ago with minimal success.

Chiefs lie fourth after the opening round, behind Bidvest Wits, Orlando Pirates and defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns on goal difference.

Golden Arrows and Polokwane City were the other clubs to secure maximum points in the opening round.

Sibusiso Mbonani scored a minute before half-time to earn Polokwane a 1-0 away win over Black Leopards, who hired French coach Lionel Soccoia during the close season.

Soccoia replaced Maltese Dylan Kerr, who quit after complaining of constant interference from club officials.

Arrows netted in the first minute of the second half through a Michael Gumede lob to edge Maritzburg United 1-0 in Durban.

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