They also blew hot and cold in the DStv Premiership as they failed to close the gap between them and log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, despite making a host of new signings during pre-season.
Breath of fresh air
Enter Johnson following the sacking of Ntseki. The former Al Ahly assistant coach brought a breath of fresh air to the club before the Africa Cup of Nations-enforced break.
Chiefs enjoyed a four-game unbeaten run before Afcon as they finished the first half of the season sixth on the log and 14 points behind the Brazilians, who have two games in hand. But prior to the close of the transfer window last week, Johnson dropped a bombshell.
“At the moment I don’t think we should disrupt the nest,” he said during the handover of school shoes at Umqhele Secondary School in Tembisa.
“We have a crop of players from last year that have done very well. There is a crop of players that haven’t started games, but they’ve put up their hands and seem to be happy at Kaizer Chiefs.
“I am happy but you never know what will happen in football. There’s three days before the January transfer window closes (there was one), so you never know. Something might drop from the sky and it’s good for Chiefs but in saying that no, I am happy (with the current crop of players).”
And with nothing having ‘dropped from the sky’, Johnson will be forced to use the current crop of players to the best of their abilities.
‘We want to go for the Nedbank Cup as hard as possible’
“We would like to get into that space as far as African football is concerned. And the Nedbank (Cup) is available for Kaizer Chiefs this year.
“It’s not Cavin Johnson that’s saying I want to win the Nedbank, but it’s the whole institution who’ve put up their hands and said we want to go for the Nedbank Cup as hard as we can.
“We also want to play the remaining games in the league as hard as we can.”
Johnson is no stranger to guiding his teams to African football, having done that with Al Ahly and the now-defunct Platinum Stars where he was the head coach.
Johnson doesn’t believe that he’s the messiah and will turn things around at Chiefs instantly, though. Hence, he’s banking on the togetherness of the team to succeed.
“Yes, for sure I have been chosen to lead the team. But if I was the messiah, I could have done it all. But I am not the messiah, I must depend on other things,” Johnson said.