Kaizer Chiefs brains trust must shoulder the blame for yet another trophyless season

Kaizer Motaung Jr and Arthur Zwane.

Kaizer Motaung Jr and Arthur Zwane. Picture: Gavin Barker BackpagePix

Published May 9, 2023


Cape Town - Full marks to Kaizer Chiefs coach Arthur Zwane for being brutally honest to say his mandate was "winning Cups" even though he was in a debut year as a Premiership coach.

The bigwigs at Chiefs expected Zwane, a Premiership greenhorn, to win trophies in his maiden year at a club which for some time has failed to win a Cups.

After Saturday's Nedbank Cup semi-final defeat at the hands of arch-rivals Orlando Pirates, Zwane declared: "I have learnt a lot in my first season."

Zwane's learning experience has come at a great price, which amounts to another year without winning a trophy. The decision-makers at Chiefs didn’t have to have foresight to see that Zwane would spend the season on a learning curve.

It also means the players were sold short on many fronts because Zwane was still learning.

What is more frightening is that the people who appointed Zwane will still be around for some time. These people are the ones who will decide which players are surplus to requirements, and which players must be recruited.

One of the problems that contributed to Amakhosi’s lack of success was the absence of marquee signings, players who could make a real difference.

Keagan Dolly and Kharma Billiat were considered the best acquisitions over the past two years, but they hardly made an impact.

The coach is best equipped to say which players must be released and which players must be bought. At Chiefs, this was not always the case and three seasons ago then-coach Gavin Hunt bluntly told the media that he had no idea what some players were doing at Chiefs.

By implication, he let it be known that even though he was the coach he had no say in the recruitment of players.

Before Hunt's time, Stuart Baxter was a few months into a three-year contract (2021) and he decided to leave the club after "butting heads" with the club's new sporting director Kaizer Motaung Jr.

Even though the latter was cutting his teeth in a position where he had precisely zero experience, he felt the need to tell Baxter how to do his job, specifically concerning the releasing and recruitment of players.

In his first spell as Chiefs coach, Baxter won the Premiership title in 2013 and again in 2015. This was no fluke and was a yardstick of his outstanding ability as a coach.

Instead of the greenhorn Motaung nr sitting open-mouthed and hanging on to every word from Baxter, he decided to tell the Briton what is best for the club.

Over the past two seasons, the wisdom of Motaung Jr prevailed and still, the club remain trophyless.

Before graduating to the Premiership ranks, Zwane did an excellent job coaching in the club's development ranks. Although Chiefs did not dominate in the Diski Challenge during Zwane's tenure, several players were good enough to be promoted to the first team.

What the bigwigs at Chiefs did not realise was that this was not a good enough reason to move Zwane up to the first team.

Many leading clubs around the world, have coaches who enjoy great success in the development ranks, but this is not necessarily the cue to appoint them as coaches of the first team.

As a result, many successful coaches in lower divisions occupy their positions for years and become integral members of very successful clubs that feature prominently on some of the world's biggest football stages.


IOL Sport

* The views expressed are not necessarily the views of IOL or Independent Media.

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