Five factors that have led to Chiefs’ downfall this season

Cavin Johnson has not been a quick fix for Kaizer Chiefs’ woes. | BackpagePix

Cavin Johnson has not been a quick fix for Kaizer Chiefs’ woes. | BackpagePix

Published Apr 23, 2024


Kaizer Chiefs’ season could go from bad to worse if they do not finish in the top eight in the DStv Premiership after enduring another barren campaign.

Here, MIHLALI BALEKA looks at how things turned pear-shaped for Amakhosi, who were expected to improve this season.

Cavin Johnson has not been a quick fix for Kaizer Chiefs’ woes. | BackpagePix

Johnson’s audition

Cavin Johnson was brought in as a ‘quick fix’ when the club promoted him from the youth to the first team as an ‘interim coach’ after sacking Molefi Ntseki.

Johnson, however, has enjoyed the luxury of an extended audition, without a clear direction. He will have been at the helm for seven months when the season concludes next month.

During that time, the club should have long found a permanent replacement for Ntseki – even if it was Johnson – who would have finished off the season, bolstered the squad in January and already begun pre-season planning for 2024/25.

Itumeleng Khune of Kaizer Chiefs has added to the ill discipline that has plagued Chiefs. | BackpagePix

Ill discipline

Itumeleng Khune is the most senior player at Chiefs. As such, he’s expected to lead by example on and off the pitch. Hence, his suspension seems to have caused harm.

In recent matches, there seems to be division within the Chiefs’ camp, with players – particularly Brandon Petersen – doubling up as coach on the bench. Players have had a go at each other for lack of effort at times, and they seem agitated with each other when things don’t go their way.

Jasond Gonzalez of Kaizer Chiefs has proven to be a poor transfer. | BackpagePix

Inconsistent form

The Amakhosi made a host of signings during the pre-season, with highly rated players locally and abroad expected to take the club back to the top. But they’ve only sunk with the team.

Colombian Jasond Gonzalez has been a poor buy, failing to make an impact or score a goal. Sibongiseni Mthethwa arrived with much fanfare from Stellenbosch, but he’s blown hot and cold in the engine room, to the disappointment of many.

A large chunk of the inconsistent form of Chiefs has also been due to Johnson not having a reliable line-up, as he’s chopped and changed the team.

In Ntseki Molefi’s last few matches as Kaizer Chiefs coach, he was threatened by fan violence and hooliganism. | BackpagePix

Fan behaviour

Football is about winning but such has been Chiefs’ decline this season that some of their fans at the stadium haven’t take kindly to losses.

They pelted Ntseki out of the team, which must have had some psychological impact on the players, as they are not sure if they’ll be targeted after losses. With every passing defeat, especially at home, a heavy security contingent usually gathers behind the benches and guards the team en route to the tunnel.

Mfundo Vilakazi has been one of the few shining lights for Kaizer Chiefs this season. | BackpagePix

Need to please

Chiefs have made a host of promotions in recent years. And kudos to them for believing in their home-brewed talent. But Johnson has thrown some of the young players in the deep end too soon, as if that’s done to please the supporters or the top brass.

Mfundo Vilakazi, 18, is a special breed, as proven by his masterclass performances in the reserve team during the previous seasons. But given the crisis that Chiefs are facing, he’s not the first ‘impact’ player that Johnson can look up to when the chips are down, like he did against Richards Bay.