Pretoria News

Du Preez motivated by Zwane praise to score for Chiefs


KAIZER Chiefs striker Ashley du Preez has sent a strong warning to their next two opponents amid Amakhosi’s bid to finish third on the Premiership standings.

After a roller-coaster start at Chiefs, Du Preez has become one of the key figures in coach Arthur Zwane’s team, thanks to his nine goals and five assists in all competitions.

So, overall it will turn out to be an impressive debut season for Du Preez, that will see him miss out on being one of the Cape-born players who have failed to live up to their lofty billing in Gauteng.

And while Du Preez has his teammates to thank for his eventual adaptation at Chiefs, there are people who have played a starring role in ensuring he will still be part and parcel of the team next season.

“The strongest motivator has been the players and family around me. The family is very important to me in playing this game,” Du Preez told Independent Media.

“They help me to push and to work even harder in everyday life as a human being. So, they are my greatest motivator.”

And while his family might have been with Du Preez through thick and thin, he seems to have also found a big brother in Zwane.

A club legend before his appointment as team coach, Zwane stressed the importance of giving Du Preez time to adjust to the challenges and demands at Chiefs.

At the time, the 49-year-old coach was speaking like an older brother who was defending his younger sibling as Chiefs fans were unleashing their wrath on the former Stellenbosch FC star, who was missing goals for fun.

Zwane, though, is now reaping the fruits of protecting Du Preez – who he regards as one his best players, despite recently missing out on the Premiership’s runners-up spot and Nedbank Cup crown.

But in the wake of the praise from his coach, Du Preez is not getting carried away. Instead, he is using those compliments as motivation.

“As an individual, you want to be the outstanding player in the team. I heard what the coach said about me being an important player and one of the key players in the team,” Du Preez said.

“I think for me, that’s a motivation – if the coach recognises you as an individual player doing well for the team and for yourself, learning every day and getting better.

“It is so important for you as an individual to do well, and to get better. So, for me, it’s just to keep going and finish the season on a high.”

Those aspirations of finishing the season well – and as the team’s top goal-scorer – will spell danger for Chiefs’ last two opponents of the campaign, SuperSport United and Cape Town City.

SuperSport are currently occupying third place – which Chiefs covet – making for a thrilling match when the two sides meet at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium tomorrow in the league’s penultimate round.

And with Chiefs four points behind SuperSport, they will need a lot of goals to win the game and keep their chances of finishing third alive – something Du Preez is longing for more than anything.

“As a player, I have been working on finishing, so for me it’s important to also finish on a high by scoring. I think I am just one goal away from finishing the season with 10 goals,” he said.

“So, since I only need one to get to the 10-goal mark, I am going into these games to score goals and help the team win.”





African News Agency