Why Kaizer Chiefs cannot afford to fumble their next head coach appointment

Kaizer Chiefs’ starlet Wandile Duba has made a splash this season. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Kaizer Chiefs’ starlet Wandile Duba has made a splash this season. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 17, 2024


Kaizer Chiefs as one of South Africa’s biggest and most iconic brands are at a crossroads. And a wrong turn may see them drive into another cul-de-sac.

It’s been almost 10 years since the Amakhosi faithful had something to celebrate when a Stuart Baxter-led Chiefs lifted the Premiership trophy after a remarkable 2014/15 campaign.

They came close to lifting the league title again in the 2019/20 season, but, after the Covid-19 disrupted season ruined their momentum, they had to look on while Mamelodi Sundowns lifted the trophy for the 10th time.

Sundowns have since dominated the domestic scene, winning another three league titles on the trot. They are on course for another title and set for a remarkable quadruple as they are still in the hunt for the CAF Champions League and the Nedbank Cup after winning the Africa Football League earlier this season.

The gulf in class between Sundowns and Chiefs is clear for all to see, with Sundowns enjoying a 23 point gap over the Soweto giants.

Of course, Sundowns have a lot more resources in terms of spend than Chiefs, but Amakhosi should always be compared with the best because of their stature in South African football.

But besides the money, the way Sundowns have evolved behind-the-scenes is one of the main reasons why they have surged ahead of their rivals.

Chiefs have had top coaches come and go over the last 10 years, who have tried to compete with Sundowns on an uneven playing field.

Instead of being creative in the transfer market, they have bought expensive flops, as those big-name coaches tried to find instant solutions to quench the fans’ thirst for success.

This season the rookies and youngsters have made much more of an impact for Chiefs. Young players such as Wandile Duba have shown that Chiefs don’t have to look too far to find the rough diamonds.

But now they need a coach to polish those diamonds and turn them into jewels that can help them reclaim their crown as South Africa’s best.

Moving current interim coach Cavin Johnson back to the development side of things is already a step in the right direction. Now it’s just about finding coaches who can bring the kids through and help them compete in the DStv Premiership.

Fighting in the transfer market with Sundowns is a futile exercise. So, Chiefs need the right man who can take them further with some creativity to turn the ship around.