DURBAN – Former Kaizer Chiefs defender Siphiwe “Skizo” Mkhonza says the lack of strong competition at the Amakhosi is the main factor in Mulomowandau Mathoho’s dip in form.
Mathoho’s performances have been questionable for Chiefs and Bafana Bafana this season.
At one stage he got two red cards in the space of a week. Over the last five seasons, Mathoho has been the pillar of strength for Amakhosi at the back.
Mkhonza, who possesses a Premiership medal he won with Chiefs in 2004/05, has revealed why Mathoho has struggled this season.
He spoke to Independent Media while attending the We Are Football event this past weekend at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
“It is important to stay consistent for so long, especially when you don’t have strong competition. I think he is too comfortable at Chiefs because no one is strongly challenging him.
“I think it has gone into his mind that he plays week-in and week-out whether he performs or not, which has made him forget about the dynamics and fundamentals of the game,” Mkhonza explained.
Mkhonza faced stiff competition during his days with Amakhosi, competing with the likes of Patrick Mabedi and Fabian McCarthy.
Mathoho is fighting for the jersey with the likes of Lorenzo Gordinho, Daniel Cardoso and young Siyabonga Ngezana.
“As a defender, it is about the work that you put in. It is not like attackers where it is about instinct. The fact that he has been playing for so long and there’s no one who is challenging him has made him relax,” Mkhonza stated.
Chiefs boss Steve Komphela has since changed his system from 4-4-2 to 3-5-1-1.
“If you look at the last five results for Chiefs, it tells you that the new system is working for them. They haven’t lost when playing with that system. It has been working for Steve and there’s no need to change it,” said Mkhonza.
“It is a new formation that a lot of coaches are applying now in modern football, to pack the midfield. We call it ‘overload’ in coaching terms.
“It suits Chiefs because they don’t have enough depth. They’ve used Zulu (Philani) as a left back and he is not an out-and-out left back. It shows that they don’t have many numbers in the fullback position. They rather play three defenders and convert their wingers in to fullbacks,” Mkhonza explained.
Ngezana has been a revelation for Chiefs at the back since making his debut against Mamelodi Sundowns. The 19-year-old scored on debut, but Mkhonza feels it is still too early to judge him.
“The problem that we have in South Africa is that we give credit too early. I think it is too early. I hope that he has good surroundings around him. You don’t want to lie to him and say you are there when you are not there.
“If you do that, you are crippling him and he will forget to work on the fundamentals of the game. Most of our young players forget to work on the fundamentals of the game.
“They tend to forget to work hard enough. For me, an athlete needs to work hard all the time. It doesn’t matter how you performed in your last match. With good coaching, I think Ngezana will develop. He hasn’t reached his prime as yet.”