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It is a dream come true to coach Kaizer Chiefs - Arthur Zwane

Arthur Zwane,coach of Kaizer Chiefs during the DStv Premiership 2021/22 match between Kaizer Chiefs and Swallows at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on the 21 May 2022. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Arthur Zwane,coach of Kaizer Chiefs during the DStv Premiership 2021/22 match between Kaizer Chiefs and Swallows at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on the 21 May 2022. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published May 26, 2022

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New Kaizer Chiefs coach Arthur Zwane wants to restore the “winning mentality” the club had during his days as a player at the Amakhosi.

Zwane, who was the stand-in at Naturena after Stuart Baxter’s second term was abruptly terminated last month, was appointed on a permanent basis on Thursday. The 48-year-old was awarded a three-year contract, starting immediately, along with assistant Dillon Sheppard.

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Zwane is well-versed in the Chiefs culture, having spent the past 22 years at the club, as both player and coach, where he progressed through the youth divisions before rising to the top.

His honour roll is certainly impressive, having helped the club win 12 major trophies, including the CAF Cup Winners Cup, two league titles, the MTN8, Coca Cola Cup, Absa Cup, BP Top8 and the Telkom Knockout.

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During his first stint as stand-in coach after replacing the sacked Gavin Hunt at the end of 2020/2021 season, he ensured that Chiefs did not miss out on MTN8 qualification by winning the last three league games.

He also has the distinction of being the first coach to lead Chiefs to the Caf Champions League final after defeating Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca in the two-legged semi-final.

“It has been a difficult journey, it’s never been easy. But these are the things we dream about,” Zwane told reporters on Thursday.

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“I told those who are close to me eight years back that I am spending sleepless nights to be the head coach (of Chiefs), but a head coach to help the team win, not just to add numbers.

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“One of the reasons I wanted to play for this team when I was a player was because of their winning culture, their winning mentality. Those are the things that inspired me and to work so hard that one day I will don the famous Kaizer Chiefs jersey. That was a dream come true, and here I am sitting today.”

Zwane was particularly grateful to club chairman Kaizer Motaung - not only for the opportunity to lead a club of the stature of Chiefs, but also for the role he played in helping him forge a new career path after his playing days had ended.

“If there is one person that made me believe in myself from day one then it's the chairman,” the former Bafana Bafana winger said.

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Motaung also praised Zwane for showing patience with the Amakhosi, especially after he was overlooked at the beginning of last season when Chiefs called on Baxter for a second stint despite the club having made significant progress under Zwane and Sheppard after Hunt’s departure.

"The plan we have been working on for many years of appointing Arthur as our head coach has come to fruition,” Motaung said in a club statement.

"After seeing his passion for the game and his willingness to learn, we have been looking to bring him through to lead the senior team when the time is right and we believe that time is now.

"We are also grateful that he has been patient and continued to work hard to advance his coaching skills and abilities by educating himself, which is key in the modern game.”

The healthy working relationship between Zwane and Sheppard will also seemingly be a major asset to restoring Chiefs’ stature in South African football after a few disappointing seasons.

"I am lucky to have coach Sheppy," he said. "I have known him since he was a player. And then I watched him coaching a team at Bidvest Wits and they played a really nice brand of football. I have always wanted to work with him.

"We then met up again while doing our Uefa B licence in Ireland. We became close there. I saw him there and I knew there’s no way he can work for another club because this club deserves quality people with knowledge of the game. We bonded there and now we are working together. I can assure you that I trust this man with my whole heart. I can sleep for the whole day with no worries because that’s how much I trust him."

@ZaahierAdams

IOL Sport

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