Time for Kaizer Chiefs to make a ‘10111’ call to Arthur Zwane

Arthur Zwane, assistant coach of Kaizer Chiefs during the DStv Premiership game against Cape Town City at Cape Town Stadium on 15 February 2022. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Arthur Zwane, assistant coach of Kaizer Chiefs during the DStv Premiership game against Cape Town City at Cape Town Stadium on 15 February 2022. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Apr 23, 2022


Johannesburg - Arthur Zwane has a fairly visible spread of grey hair even though he’s maintained his slim figure after retirement from playing the beautiful game.

He is likely to suddenly develop a further spread of grey in his goatee before the end of the season. It’s that time of the season where he gets to audition for a job that he’s likely not going to get – regardless of the potential he displays.

When Kaizer Chiefs expectedly sacked coach Stuart Baxter on Thursday following a series of poor results, controversial remarks and decisions, they turned to assistants Zwane and Dillon Sheppard to be interim coaches until the end of the season.

This is not uncharted territory for the duo. Zwane and Sheppard steered Chiefs to the top eight last season in their last two league games and CAF Champions League final post the firing of Gavin Hunt.

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Zwane led from the front, while Sheppard was happy to play the secondary role. That was expected, given that the former knows the culture and history of the club like the back of his hand.

He also played for Amakhosi, remember?

But no, it’s that he’s a club legend that makes ‘10111’ stand out. The Uefa B Coaching Licence Irish FA student, and classmate of Sheppard, knows the building blocks that Amakhosi need to lay so that they can become great once again.

Those who’ve covered the reserve league, like yours truly, followed Zwane as he yelled against any mistake or complacency from his charges. He always insisted that to him it was not about results, but about playing Chiefs’ way.

Zwane’s passion for mastering basics and playing attractive football were more important than winning trophies. When his team won the Diski Shield by beating Mamelodi Sundowns, his game plan had everything: basics, structure, flair, hunger and goals.

When he took charge of Chiefs’ senior team late last year, where they won two games and lost one during Baxter’s battle with Covid-19, the team probably played some of their best games of the season because they played Chiefs’ way.

The reserve teams of Zwane are where Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, the current darling of the club, Sabelo Radebe, Happy Mashiane and others were nurtured. It was a ground-breaking statement that if Chiefs believed in their youngsters, they wouldn’t have to buy in the near future.

Flashes of that were slowly bursting into life under Hunt, given that he was forced to tap into youngsters as the club endured a one-year-long transfer ban. But during Baxter’s era, the youngsters were again pushed to the sidelines.

Baxter is a firm believer of the tried and tested. That’s why he must have thought the usual gang, that has Bernard Parker and Eric Mathoho, would again lead them to the promised land like they did between 2013 and 2015 when they won the title twice.

But he was left with egg on his face as Chiefs extended their trophy-less run to seven seasons under his tenure.

However, don’t get me wrong, experienced players need to be part and parcel of the set-up as well. They bring a lot on and off the pitch.

That’s why, as Zwane and Sheppard start the cause of trying to guide Chiefs to a top two finish against Stellenbosch on Saturday, in the last seven games, it’s perhaps time the senior players make their voices heard and back them for the top seat, should the duo achieve that feat.

Otherwise, Chiefs will be back here next season, asking Zwane and Sheppard to finish the season after firing the new coach. After all, three is a lucky charm right?