Cavin Johnson wants to make 16 million Kaizer Chiefs fans smile

Kaizer Chiefs will hope key playmaker Keagan Dolly can make a big impact against Milford FC. Photo: BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs will hope key playmaker Keagan Dolly can make a big impact against Milford FC. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Feb 23, 2024

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With Kaizer Chiefs having endured tough times in recent seasons, interim coach Cavin Johnson is eager to bring back the smile of supporters by winning the Nedbank Cup.

Chiefs endured a topsy-turvy first half of the season. They missed out on both the MTN8 and Carling Knockout Cup, while they battled in the DStv Premiership too.

That was a poor return on investment for the Amakhosi as they had hired a new coach in Molefi Ntseki, and signed a host of players to end an eight-season-long barren run.

Chiefs had already restructured the technical team prior to the Africa Cup of Nations-enforced break, sacking Ntseki and replacing him with Johnson on an interim basis.

The 65-year-old mentor seems to have brought a breath of fresh air to the team as he’s enjoying a five-game unbeaten run, thanks to three wins and two draws.

But despite the league being a marathon, the chances of Chiefs closing in on log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, who are ahead by nine points, are slim to none.

And that’s why Johnson, who was speaking at the PSL offices yesterday ahead of their Nedbank Cup last-32 match, stated what winning a cup would do for Chiefs.

“Personally, it would mean the world to me, Kaizer Chiefs and the massive following that we have (to win the Nedbank Cup),” Johnson said.

“I think all the clubs in the PSL put emphasis on all trophies. I don’t think we are different to any club or coach who has worked here and put emphasis on certain trophies.

“All the coaches want to win trophies that are available. If I was here from the start, I would have said I want to win all four trophies up for grabs.

“Realistically, this is the last one that is on offer for all of us (besides Sundowns) and it’s the start of the competition, so we’ll put all our emphasis on it.”

Chiefs are not only focusing on the cup because the league title is out of reach, but because they want to preserve their record in the competition as well.

The Glamour Boys, despite the recent fall from grace, are still the most successful team in the premier South African football cup competition with 13 trophies.

“We know that this is the last one, and we hold the most as far as the Nedbank Cup is concerned. So, we’d like to carry on with that,” Johnson explained.

“We’d like to ensure that there’s no dominance of a particular team in the PSL. So, if we are able to do that, with the gods of football on our side, we’ll push as hard as we can.”

It will be important for Chiefs to do well from the start of the competition, though, given that despite their dominance, they’ve had notable blemishes.

Chiefs have succumbed against minnows in the Nedbank Cup when they were expected to win, including losing the 2019 final to then-NFD side TS Galaxy.

So, with another second-tier side in Milford FC – a Motsepe Foundation Championship (National First Division) outfit who are based in Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal – waiting for them in the opening round of the competition at the FNB Stadium on Sunday (6pm kick-off), they’ll have to be at their best.

Chiefs will be without S’fiso Hlanti (suspension), Thatayaone Ditlhokwe, Edmilson Dove and George Matlou (all injured), but will hope that star playmaker Keagan Dolly can make a big impact after he returned to action off the bench in last weekend’s draw against Royal AM.

“The biggest trophy that I will win (at Chiefs) is making our millions of supporters smile. I’ve seen what it is like to make 16 million supporters happy,” Johnson said.

“When you talk about 16 million supporters, I don’t think I have changed my appetite (to win) for that. So yes, we’ll smile soon. So God help me!”