Cavin Johnson: Kaizer Chiefs players haven’t given up despite loss to Stellenbosch FC

Kaizer Chiefs forward Ashley du Preez tries to hold off Stellenbosch FC’s Anicet Oura at the FNB Stadium on Tuesday night. Photo: ITUMELENG ENGLISH Independent Newspapers

Kaizer Chiefs forward Ashley du Preez tries to hold off Stellenbosch FC’s Anicet Oura at the FNB Stadium on Tuesday night. Photo: ITUMELENG ENGLISH Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 4, 2024


Cavin Johnson says his bosses at Kaizer Chiefs – and not him – will decide whether he’s done enough to land the coaching job on a permanent basis.

The Amakhosi’s catastrophic stint under Johnson continued on Tuesday night as they lost 1-0 to Stellenbosch FC in the DStv Premiership at their FNB Stadium home.

The loss didn’t only subject Chiefs to the potential of missing out on a top-three finish, but to being booted out of the top eight as well.

Chiefs are seventh on the log with 30 points, four behind the third-place Sekhukhune United and two ahead of Polokwane City in 10th.

To make things worse, both Sekhukhune and Polokwane have a game in hand on Chiefs, who have played 22 league games.

So, with the Glamour Boys slowly letting their fate slip out of their hands, the question of whether Johnson deserves to remain at the helm next season has been raised often.

Johnson, who’s only managed five wins, four draws and five defeats since taking over on an ‘interim basis’, says top management at the club will decide his fate.

“It will depend on the bosses,” said Johnson in his post-match media conference after Devin Titus had grabbed the winner for Stellies on Tuesday night.

“We are there (towards the end of the season). Like I said, there’s no ‘interim coach’ role anywhere in the world.

“You do the job because you are offered the job to do it at that moment, and you must do your best. Until now we are trying our best as a group of people.

“And if it works, you clap your hands and say, ‘Thank you’. And then you ask the club to decide what they want to do. That’s where I am: I do my best.

“So, if I am successful, so be it, and if I am not successful, that’s what goes on with winning or losing. Football is like that: you win or lose.”

Johnson didn’t look like a man who had left it up to the decision-makers at Naturena to decide his fate on Tuesday – it was like he knew he’ll be gone next season.

The 65-year-old mentor was among the last staff members to arrive before kick-off, the last one to walk down the tunnel at half-time and last one to walk down the tunnel at the end of the match.

It was as if he’s avoiding being with the team – a suggestion that could be heightened by several players “acting as assistant coaches” on the bench.

Goalkeeper Brandon Petersen continued to bark out instructions, as he had been doing in the past few weeks, and against Stellies, he was joined by Dillan Solomons.

Those two incidents have raised questions on whether Johnson has lost the dressing room completely.

“Always, I believe that. I think we are still together, and they haven’t given up on hope,” said Johnson, rubbishing allegations that the players aren’t following his orders any longer.

Goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma conceded a goal for only the third time in 11 matches across all competitions on Tuesday night, again proving that Chiefs’ biggest Achilles heel is up front.

Chiefs have misfired so badly on attack that they’ve only scored three goals in seven games this year – proof of how their decision not to sign players in January has come back to haunt the club.

Johnson, though, is not crying over spilt milk. Instead, he has called on his attacking unit to improve, starting with the away trip to Chippa United on Saturday.

“But like you say, you get a sucker punch goal against you, and we couldn’t break the opposition down – and that happens in a football match,” Johnson said.

“Maybe it looks like it’s happening too often to us. So, we need to find the right player to score goals. As a group, we are struggling to get that.

“We thought Ash (Ashley du Preez) had it, but we can’t rely only on him. We have to rely on (Pule) Mmodi, (Christian) Saile and Shaba (Mduduzi Shabalala) as well.

“They’ll need to chip in somewhere, and then we get better. But it wasn’t to be tonight (against Stellenbosch).”