JOHANNESBURG – “It’s heavy. It’s very heavy,” Lorenzo Gordinho says with a solemn tone in response to how much it weighs on Kaizer Chiefs’ players that the club has gone four seasons without a trophy.
This barren run is an anomaly for Amakhosi and has reached crisis levels as the club is used to lifting at least one trophy every season. They started this season with a 3-2 win over Highlands Park at Makhulong Stadium. They will look to continue that run when they host Black Leopards at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
In every match the barren run is at the back of Chiefs minds which has made it harder to break free from those shackles.
“During off-season we worked on that aspect, mentally, to understand that it’s heavy pressure but it doesn’t need to weigh us down on the pitch,” Gordinho said.
“It must be one that gives us more fire and more spirit to win things. The credit must go to the supporters, even though we haven’t won anything, they were still positive after our last two games even after we lost in the Carling Black Label Cup. They saw that we are creating chances but we are unlucky. It will come. We have to repay them this season.”
Gordinho is in a special position to view Amakhosi as an insider and an outsider at the same time. He was an outsider for a year during his loan stint at Bloemfontein Celtic. He returned late last year to a club in crisis. That crisis was heightened by their loss to TS Galaxy in the Nedbank Cup final at the stadium where they will take on Lidoda Duvha.
“When I came back before the end of the year, a lot was going on at the Village,” Gordinho said. “Things weren’t going well, especially after we lost in the final. But when we came back from the off-season, the mentality has changed a lot.
The team has grown. We have become stronger. I think now we understand what we did wrong last season and how we can rectify that this season.”
The old Chiefs would have wilted from the pressure the Lions of the North put them under in an up-and-down battle in Tembisa. But Chiefs dug deep and showed the aggression that Ernst Middendorp wants to see this season. They will have to do that all over again against Leopards.
Lidoda Duvha have signed a number of experienced campaigners this season to bolster the team that gained promotion from the first division two seasons ago.
“Everyone is ready to fight this season,” Gordninho said. “Everyone wants to fight in every game, every minute. Even at training we are fighting for position.
That has changed a lot and that’s why we were able to fight until the end against Highlands because they are a team that fights. They are known for their fighting spirit and they fight until the end.”
Mike de Bruyn