Cavin Johnson to Kaizer Chiefs: Time to pick ourselves up off the canvas

Amazulu Headcoach Cavin Johnson during the interview when AmaZulu FC takes head on their KwaZulu-Natal rivals Maritzburg United in an Absa Premiership match at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban

File. Sunday’s horrific loss at home to minnows Milford FC in the opening round saw Kaizer Chiefs go nine seasons without a trophy. Seen here: Kaizer Chiefs interim coach Cavin Johnson. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 1, 2024


Kaizer Chiefs coach Cavin Johnson has pleaded with his players to redeem themselves against Moroka Swallows at the FNB Stadium on Saturday (5.45pm kick-off) after crashing out of the Nedbank Cup last weekend.

Sunday’s horrific loss at home to minnows Milford FC in the opening round saw Chiefs go nine seasons without a trophy. They also missed out on the MTN8 and Carling Knockout Cup, while the DStv Premiership title is out of reach.

That calamitous run has left most of their supporters in utter despair, but Johnson and his team can’t throw in the towel yet.

There’s still a top-three finish to play for in the league, which will guarantee the Amakhosi a place in either the CAF Champions League or Confederation Cup next season.

Heed the Johnson call

Chiefs are currently sixth in the league, six points below third-placed SuperSport United, albeit with a game in hand.

And that gap could be trimmed to three points by on Saturday night if Chiefs’ players heed Johnson’s call in a Soweto derby against the Dube Birds.

“We are all disappointed, but we must pick ourselves up. As trainers of professional athletes, you must get them (the players) back,” he said.

“When we came back, we said: ‘Guys, that’s the Nedbank, we’ve lost. We are part of the nine-year drought, but we have a lot of games to play in the league’.

“In front of us, we have the Soweto derby that we must play and do the best we can. Playing that game would allow us to redeem ourselves.”

Chiefs have ample reason to believe. They’ve collected 11 points from a possible 15 in their last five games, thanks to three wins and two draws.

They have been solid in defence as well, with goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma the team’s knight in shining armour, having conceded just one goal in those five fixtures.

However, the Amakhosi’s Achilles heel has been up front, with their struggling strikers failing to score in the last two matches.

Du Preez needs to bag those goals

Ashley du Preez has been Chiefs’ main culprit on attack, missing clear-cut chances, including tap-ins or one-on-one duels with the goalkeeper.

Johnson has shied away from throwing Du Preez and Co under the bus, though, backing his strikers to improve with every passing training session if they create chances.

“I always say that when a player doesn’t do that (convert chances), the only way (to fix it) is to try and emulate it in the next training session,” Johnson said.

“Sometimes they need to score with no goalkeeper and sometimes with three goalkeepers. So, you try to play around with those options at training.”

Johnson believes that he’s the right man to change the team’s fortunes in the immediate future, given his decisions and approach to the job.

The 61-year-old said he didn’t bolster the squad – particularly up front – during the January transfer window because it’s his job to make the players better.

And that’s not all: Johnson isn’t warming the seat for Molefi Ntseki’s permanent replacement. Instead, he takes his job seriously.

“You don’t do this job as an interim coach – not at Kaizer Chiefs. If you are going to work with the mentality that you suggest, then don’t do it at all,” he said.


IOL Sport