Cavin could be deaf to reality of Chiefs’ situation

Kaizer Chiefs interim coach Cavin Johnson. | BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs interim coach Cavin Johnson. | BackpagePix

Published May 15, 2024



IT could be that football coaches don’t really hear themselves when they address the media after matches.

After all, such could be the effects of a tough 90 minutes that fails to yield the required results that the man in charge is left dizzy by it all. And in the dizziness they then spew something that utterly defies logic.

Why else would a coach whose team has not won successive matches since the turn of the year tell us that ‘it is about winning every game’ for his team to achieve an objective that is fast slipping away?

Kaizer Chiefs’ Cavin Johnson explained after Amakhosi’s 1-1 draw with AmaZulu at the weekend that finishing in the top eight was ‘very important to the club, very vital’.

Assistant coach of Kaizer Chiefs Dillon Sheppard. | BackpagePix

The one-time kings of South African football are holding on to eighth place by a thread with two matches left in the season following a wretched run since the Africa Cup of Nations-induced break.

Such has been Chiefs’ poor form that to hear Johnson once again describing the club’s matches as being like ‘cup finals’ is laughable because at the rate they’ve been going there’s no way Amakhosi would have made it past the first hurdle of a knockout cup competition.

As it is, that was the case with Chiefs being sent packing from the Nedbank Cup in their opening match by lower division side Milford FC.

Of course, he was being metaphorical in saying ‘we have to take the next two games as cup finals’. But the amiable coach would do well to learn to steer clear of such, going forward. In any case, by his own admission, Chiefs ‘tried to do that in the last six games where every game is a final’ but failed dismally.

He acknowledged that it is incumbent upon him as the leader to ensure that things change for the better – pleased as he was by his belief that the team was playing good football but just failing where it mattered.

“In the last few games, it is not that the team was not playing good football. The problem is just putting the ball into the net,” he said during the media conference after their 1-1 draw with Usuthu, a result he argued should have been different had the match officials done their job properly and ruled out AmaZulu’s goal for offside.

The referees’ poor decisions are adding to Johnson’s frustrations brought about by his team.

“We did not do what we do at training, finishing,” he lamented.

“If we were a little bit more clinical the score would be (different). It is a work in progress. For the last two games, we (took the) lead but we tend to give away soft goals for the opposition to come back at us.

“We are not aggressive enough, calm enough to maintain our lead and then go and score the goal that will seal the game.”

Bobby Motaung. | BackpagePix

He is going to have to find a way to make sure that his team succeeds in all those aspects on Saturday when they play a Polokwane City side directly in competition with them for the eighth spot in the table. The Limpopo outfit are in ninth spot on the same 35 points as Chiefs with both left with two matches and Amakhosi above them by virtue of a superior goal difference.

Do that and they should be confident of beating already-relegated Cape Town Spurs in the season’s final match next Saturday (May 25).

“We have to go back, with two more games, to make it (into the top eight) for ourselves. At the moment it is about winning every game.”

Achieving that feat will take some doing for a club that has not won back-to-back matches since December. And it could well be that Johnson – speaking right after the draw with AmaZulu – had lost track of that fact. Worse still, he just might not have heard himself.