Kaizer Chiefs are set to face Black Leopards in their ‘slaughterhouse’ Thohoyandou Stadium this afternoon, with one player set to make his debut at the Limpopo venue.
Chiefs defender Erick Mathoho will run out for the first time in his career at his home venue, which is a 36,5km drive from where he was born in Tshiombo.
Despite having played over 250 matches in all competitions in his career, the towering 29-year-old has never played in front of his home support.
Last season he battled with injury, which kept him out for majority of the campaign – including both fixtures against Leopards – as he played just four-and-a-half games for the entire season.
In 2013, when Lidoda Duvha were last in the top flight, Mathoho was absent from the matchday squad of Stuart Baxter’s side that won 3-1, though that match was played at Peter Mokaba Stadium.
In fact, the last and only time he faced the Limpopo outfit, he scored the opener in a 2-2 draw for Bloemfontein Celtic back in February 2012, but that too was a fixture played away from his hometown in Giyani.
Now ‘Tower’ could finally break his duck of experiencing true home support, with his family having bought tickets to come and watch him in action.
“I grew up around Thohoyandou and I am as yet to play a game there. It will mean a lot if I am able to play there and I am really excited about the prospect of playing a game in a part of the country which holds many memories for me,” Mathoho told his club’s website.
“I have a big family out there in Thohoyandou and surrounding areas. They have bought tickets for the game and are all excited about coming to watch me and the team. It will be nice to have them all supporting us.”