Chiefs have hit rock bottom … and started to dig

Cavin Johnson has not been able to arrest the decline of Kaizer Chiefs. | BackpagePix

Cavin Johnson has not been able to arrest the decline of Kaizer Chiefs. | BackpagePix

Published Feb 28, 2024


Smiso Msomi

The once-mighty Kaizer Chiefs have once again seemingly hit rock bottom following another embarrassing milestone.

Amakhosi, 13-time winners of the domestic league with over 42 major titles to their name, were unsurprisingly eliminated from the Nedbank Cup. In what has become a regular occurrence for the Naturena-based club over the years, Chiefs lost to Motsepe Foundation Championship (National First Division) side Milford.

Cavin Johnson has not been able to arrest the decline of Kaizer Chiefs. | BackpagePix

The club’s huge fan base may have had flashbacks of their team’s 2009 defeat to the University of Pretoria, who were in the second tier at the time.

Chiefs then hit new lows as they buckled against Baroka in 2011, as well as Acornbush FC in 2017, clubs that had been playing in the Vodacom League – later renamed the ABC Motsepe League – at the time.

While those memorable encounters may have been historical for their opponents, they are proof of Chiefs’ ongoing decline from one of the most feared forces in South African football. Further Nedbank Cup losses against TS Galaxy and later Richards Bay FC also piled more misery on a fan base suffering from past expectations.

Chiefs are now almost guaranteed to go a full 10 years without any silverware to their name, a disaster once deemed unthinkable.

For a side that competed in the final of the CAF Champions League just three years ago, Chiefs are now starting to resemble a ‘small team’.

With the sacking of coach Molefi Ntseki in the first round of the current campaign, they have now run through eight coaches in the last eight seasons, a trait that has been associated with regular relegation candidates Chippa United.

It is not the nature of these exits that is most alarming, but rather the reaction to them. The club has consistently avoided trying to attract coaches who have enjoyed recent trophy success and if it does, the failure to protect their ‘projects’ is also a worrying factor.

For many years Chiefs have also been known for being able to capture the brightest talents in the country, who have contributed to the club’s success.

However, in the last eight years, the club has struggled with its timing in roping in these fine players, and has often signed these players too early or too late.

Ranga Chivaviro of Kaizer Chiefs. | BackpagePix

In the 2021/2022 season, the club signed 31-year-old Sifiso Hlanti, as well as the 32-year-old Cole Alexander.

Fast forward two years and Chiefs roped in the likes of Ranga Chivaviro, 30, Pule Mmodi, 29, who had ripped through defenders for two years at Golden Arrows, as well Tebogo Potsane, 29, who is yet to make an impact at the club.

They have also undergone huge transfer overhauls in each of the last three seasons, which is an indication of the club’s instability.

All the signs point to a huge issue within the club that is yet to be resolved and until then, the club’s fans should be aiming at retaining a top-three spot in the league and hoping for a miraculous charge in one of the three available cup competitions next season.