JOHANNESBURG - Kaizer Chiefs headed for a likely third season without a trophy and announcing on Tuesday that plans were afoot for yet another squad overhaul following their worst PSL defeat this season, a 3-0 thrashing by Chippa United on Saturday, the immediate question is what changes will be made?
We look at three critical areas that need management’s urgent attention in restoring the club to its glory days.
The coaching staff
Coach Steve Komphela has never been a popular choice among Amakhosi fans since his arrival in 2015, and surrendering the league title in his maiden year only aggravated the situation. You’d think that two campaigns later the former Maritzburg United and Free State Stars coach would have won them over by challenging for the championship and collecting a trophy or two, but Chiefs have nothing to show for it.
Surely this is enough time for a coach to prove his worth at such a big club. Perhaps it’s acceptable at a mid-table team to occasionally punch above your weight and impress in a Cup competition here and there without really going all the way.
But at Chiefs that is considered a failure of extreme proportions, and supporters are ready for 50-year-old Komphela’s tenure to come to an end.
There have been suggestions that problems at the club might well be deeper than just the coach, but the Glamour Boys will give themselves an even better fighting chance of catching up with their rivals when a new coach with impeccable pedigree is appointed.
They will also require an assistant coach with some staying power. Chiefs have had Doctor Khumalo, John Pantsil and currently have Patrick Mabedi alongside Komphela.
It used to be a foregone conclusion that new players at Chiefs would definitely impress, but that is now up in the air. The club has had major clear-outs in two successive seasons under Komphela and confirmed on Tuesday that a third squad overhaul was already in progress.
Yet football manager Bobby Motaung has often disputed the fact that Amakhosi signings have been nothing but average for some time now. Stuart Baxter was boosted with quality players when he arrived late in 2012 and went three years with pretty much the same team. There were one or two additions here and there just to refresh the squad, which clinched the league title twice in three years.
Komphela’s circumstances have been a complete contrast. Although he’s kept the core, as many as 23 players in the past two seasons have been let go. The high turnover obviously suggests the recruitment policy is not quite hitting the mark and needs a review.
A Chiefs coach knows his mandate and the prerequisite to holding on to the difficult job. But after three barren years, maybe the objectives have to be spelt out again - whether they are ambitious or not. And this should be based on the kind of players brought in and released after the “squad overhaul”.
It would help to not set the expectations too high shortly after Komphela’s awful spell. This, however, is a club that won’t accept anything less and the supporters won’t settle for mediocrity either.