CAPE TOWN – Despite the extraordinary feat of signing off last season as the Champions League runners-up, Kaizer Chiefs are languishing in a mediocre 36th slot on the latest CAF (Confederation of African Football).
The Champions League is the blue ribband event of African club football and for many years it showcased the finest football talents on the continent. As Champions League finalists, Chiefs must be regarded as one of Africa's strongest club sides, but it is not reflected on the rankings.
The 2020-21 season will rank as one of the poorest in Chiefs' 51-year history. There were many low points but the Nedbank Cup first-round loss to a lower-tier side Richards Bay is the one that stands out.
Chiefs made a desperate scramble at the end of the domestic season to finally clinch a face-saving Top 8 berth and all these low points contributed to their mediocre standing on the continent.
The best ranked SA team are Mamelodi Sundowns who are in third place. Orlando Pirates are the next bet with 19th place. The standings are headed by Pitso Mosimane's Al Ahly, the 10-times Champions League winners.
Meanwhile, Chiefs are in the throes of a spending splurge to bolster their ranks after their two-window FIFA transfer ban was lifted.
Cape Town-born midfielder Cole Alexander is the latest to join Chiefs' ranks and he has followed coach Stuart Baxter from Odisha FC, the Indian Super League club. Baxter was the coach at Odisha a few months ago.
Alexander's arrival may correspond with the pending departure of Willard Katsande. Speculation is rife that Katsande will not be offered another Chiefs contract. He has been at Chiefs for a decade and has more than 300 appearances across all competitions.
Another player who has been to Chiefs' head office is Keegan Dolly, former Sundowns kingpin. He is a free agent after his contract with French club Montpellier ended.
Some Chiefs' new signings could be in action on Sunday when the Orlando Stadium host the Carling Black Label Cup clash between bitter rivals Orlando Pirates Kaizer Chiefs.