Kaizer Chiefs bosses should accept blame for tumultuous season under Arthur Zwane

Kaizer Chiefs head coach Arthur Zwane with assistant coach Dillon Sheppard

Kaizer Chiefs head coach Arthur Zwane with assistant coach Dillon Sheppard. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published May 15, 2023


Johannesburg — It was supposed to be a good season — the kind of campaign that would see the Kaizer Chiefs’ management boasting about finally getting it right after making so many changes.

Instead, Amakhosi will endure yet another barren season, a record eighth successive campaign without silverware. As if failing to win the trophy wasn’t bad enough, the club that was for years South Africa’s footballing kings, also missed out on a top-three finish in the Premiership.

And that’s why Chiefs founder Kaizer Motaung has a daunting task on his hands, if he is to get the club back to their glory days. He thought he had done that with the major technical appointments he made this season, but with no change in fortunes what does Motaung do now?

Does he exercise patience with his subordinates or go for a complete overhaul?

Over the years, Motaung’s eldest son Bobby has been his second-in-command, making Chiefs’ decisions all-round — including on who should join and leave the club. But such has been the wind of change that has blown through Naturena in recent years, that Bobby’s younger brother Kaizer Motaung jnr is the club’s sporting director.

That appointment meant Kaizer jnr had senior responsibility above Bobby – as he could hire and fire as he pleased. And while Chiefs have been regarded as a family club since their inception 53 years ago, they also brought in Molefi Ntseki as the new head of technical and youth development.

Ntseki – a former Bafana Bafana coach – is a man who has always been passionate about young players, having been the only coach to lead the South Africa Under-17 team to the World Cup. He quickly made his presence felt at the club, with the team promoting development players – such as Mduduzi Shabalala and Samkelo Zwane – who have adapted in the top flight.

But the roles of both Kaizer jnr and Ntseki haven’t been fruitful since the appointment of club legend and former development coach Arthur Zwane as the coach of the first team.

Zwane was expected to carry out the vision of the duo given the fact that he knows the club’s culture and has a passion for grooming youngsters. But the 49-year-old finds himself drowning in the coveted hot seat as he needed police protection after their loss to SuperSport United on Saturday, due to angry supporters throwing missiles at the team.

That was a defining moment of the season for Chiefs as it raised the questions to whether the club knew what they were doing when they appointed Zwane as coach on a three-year deal. His main priority was to rebuild the team, but that came with the mandate of winning matches and titles, and not watching arch-rivals Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns bask in the glory of success.

With Chiefs hosting Cape Town City in a decisive final match of the season this Saturday, serious questions need to be asked about the management’s decisions this season.

A City win over Chiefs would see them leapfrog the Soweto club, taking the fourth spot – a sight that fans will not be happy about especially after three losses in the last few weeks.

But whose fault was it that Chiefs head into the last game of the season low on confidence? That’s a question that the team’s management will have to ask themselves as they make decisions for next season.


IOL Sport