JOHANNESBURG - Kaizer Chiefs’ prominent supporter Masilo Machaka admits that one of the club’s mottos, ‘Amakhosi Ajabulile’, is proving to be futile nowadays if you consider the three-year barren run that the club has endured.
Once dubbed the Cup Kings of South African football, Chiefs are still chasing their first trophy since April 2015. That dry spell has taken a toll on their fans, who have become the victims of mockery from opposition supporters.
“The cabinet is empty and people are reluctant to go to the stadiums,” Machaka said. “It’s like Bafana Bafana, who have failed to qualify for major tournaments. I mean, the team is not even playing good football at the moment. As long as we see the type of football that they are playing, we would like to attend all the games, even if they are not winning but at the moment we can’t. I mean, how do we defend people that are defenceless themselves?”
The supporters’ anger and frustrations towards the drought led them to resort to violence and hooliganism that forced coach Steve Komphela out of Naturena late last term. In came Italian coach Giovanni Solinas late in the pre-season and he only got his work-permit on the eve of their opener. Without a pre-season with the team, Solinas is yet to reap fruits - he is winless in all five Absa Premiership matches and was booted out of the MTN8 competition.
“I also think the late arrival of Solinas had a negative impact as well,” Machaka said about Chiefs’ poor start. “Other teams had long prepared during the pre-season, while we are just starting to find our rhythm now - it’s late. That’s why you can also see that we are also struggling in defence, and that’s something we could have fixed a long time ago. I also can’t understand why players of Kabelo Mahlasela's calibre are being benched, whereas we need a win.”
As if things couldn’t get worse for Amakhosi, their next fixture tomorrow at Cape Town Stadium (3pm) is a tricky one against a confident Cape Town City outfit. City recently reached their second successive MTN8 final - their third cup final since their establishment three seasons ago. Hence Machaka is wary of the danger that the Citizens pose, especially being led by someone of Benni McCarthy’s calibre.
PSL and @AbsaSouthAfrica in Cape Town today- build-up to Woza Nazo Fixture this weekend @CapeTownCityFC vs @KaizerChiefs on Saturday. Also discussing the importance of #AbsaPrem pic.twitter.com/Jfpmw44kiY
“It will be tough against City,” Machaka insisted. “They have a high morale after reaching the final of the MTN8. I know McCarthy from his days of playing football, he knows what he’s doing. But to us, it’s about three points, while for them they’ll be thinking about money from the final. So we have to go out there and play.”
In relation to the supporters’ pitch invasion last season Chiefs were this week sanctioned to play two home matches behind closed doors. Hence they will want to get off the mark against City and Free State Stars before they likely serve their sentence against AmaZulu and Polokwane City respectively.