Earlier this past week the spotlight was once again turned on Kaizer Chiefs’ new recruits after the club announced there would again be changes to the playing personnel at the end of the season - this despite 23 players being axed in the last two years.
One of these fresh faces, striker Dumisani Zuma, also faced the music for the first time since joining Amakhosi from Bloemfontein Celtic - his contribution being scrutinised.
The 3-0 humiliating defeat against Chippa United last weekend at the FNB Stadium unmasked some of the deeper lying problems at a club that had won the Absa Premiership title twice in three years before coach Steve Komphela took over in 2015.
Zuma, for his sins, was merely a small part of the bigger issues management will have to address at the end of a campaign that could still see Amakhosi empty-handed for a third season in a row.
“I think the situation we find ourselves in is very tough, but we must soldier on as players and make sure we win the remaining (four) games,” Zuma said ahead of Chiefs hosting relegation-bound Platinum Stars this afternoon.
“It has been a tough season for us and every time I step onto the field I try to give my best. With the chances I got, I think maybe if I converted a few of them, the story could be different. I think I would have better stats this season.”
The forward was perhaps being a bit diplomatic. In truth, Zuma hasn’t really had a fair shake since arriving from Celtic. The 22-year-old has only managed two starts in 18 matches, contributing with two goals, but when pressed on whether he thought it was enough to make an impact, Zuma didn’t want to throw Komphela under the bus.
He will be concerned that chairman Kaizer Motaung has made it clear that there will be a squad overhaul yet again, and possibly even a coaching change.
“It has been tough for us (new players), trying to gel with the team and get the combinations,” he said. “To play for Chiefs brings a lot of pressure, even if you are new. But we are willing to fight. We try as hard as we can at training to push for a place in the team. I can’t be worried about the future because I am still new at the club. I am trying to adapt. Maybe in time I will get my form back and score the goals. I can’t say whether the management will sympathise. I don’t know.”
The final few weeks of the season will be an opportunity for Chiefs players to play for contract extensions and a second chance as a clear-out looms.
“I am willing to push and getmore minutes of playing,” said Zuma. “I am not sure why I haven’t played as much as I would have liked. Obviously the coach selects the team. My job is to keep working hard at training. If there is anything I need to improve on it is to convert the chances that I get. I think my energy when I come on also needs work, even if it’s late in the game. I need as many minutes as possible for my confidence.”
The Sunday Independent