Kaizer Chiefs desperately need a good cup run to salvage their season

Kaizer Chiefs' interim head coach Cavin Johnson shouts instructions to his players during their DStv Premiership clash against Orlando Pirates

Kaizer Chiefs' interim head coach Cavin Johnson shouts instructions to his players during their DStv Premiership clash against Orlando Pirates. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP

Published Feb 8, 2024

Share

The return of DStv Premiership action next week has already stirred up various emotions and permutations for all 16 clubs.

A six-week break from the consistent demands of the beautiful game, due to the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, may now be seen as too much for the entertainment-loving players.

However, a return to one of the biggest and most lucrative leagues on the continent will demand a great degree of focus across the board, and even more so for an under-pressure Kaizer Chiefs team.

The opening round of the 2023/2024 campaign has been quite disappointing for the Amakhosi, who missed out on two trophies and are now looking at another season of possibly not qualifying for CAF football as well.

Chiefs currently occupy sixth place in the league, just five points away from second-placed Cape Town City and 14 points behind champions-in-waiting Mamelodi Sundowns.

News emanating from their camp in Naturena is a single-minded objective of continuing their climb up the log, with interim coach Cavin Johnson leading the resurrection.

The Amakhosi have also targeted the Nedbank Cup as the opportunity to end their nine-year trophy drought, the first of its kind in the club’s history.

However, are Chiefs setting themselves attainable goals, or could it be another PR campaign to calm down their fanatical support base?

Both of Chiefs’ targets for the second stanza of the season are realistically attainable.

Although plagued by inconsistency and poor performances at times, the Amakhosi find themselves in and around clubs that are deemed to be having good seasons in City, SuperSport United and Stellenbosch.

Also, Orlando Pirates were dubbed as the closest rivals to Sundowns’ crown before the start of the season, but find themselves just a point above Chiefs at the halfway mark.

Having won four, drawn one and lost one of their last six games before the break, Chiefs can be confident that if they could gel more under Johnson, they are in with a chance to snatch the second CAF Champions League spot from their competitors.

The club also welcomed the influential duo of Keagan Dolly and Ashley du Preez before the break, and the pair have had a good six weeks to pick up on Johnson’s demands, which could lift the club in return.

If the Carling Knockout Cup has shown anything, it is that anything is possible in cup football.

While the surprise of a TS Galaxy v Stellenbosch final was a significant indicator, having KwaZulu-Natal duo Richards Bay and AmaZulu in the semi-finals was an even bigger one in terms of the unpredictability of the league.

Teams like Sundowns, Pirates and SuperSport might be deemed favourites ahead of the start of the Nedbank Cup, but that does not rule out a first Ke Yona triumph since 2013 for the Amakhosi.

If Johnson and his talented group of players can string together a good cup run, which is quite possible, Chiefs could well be on their way to reawakening the winning culture they’ve lost over the years.

@ScribeSmiso

IOL Sport