Kaizer has to ‘fire his children’ to save Chiefs

Chairman of Kaizer Chiefs Kaizer Motaung. | BackpagePix

Chairman of Kaizer Chiefs Kaizer Motaung. | BackpagePix

Published May 29, 2024




The founder of Kaizer Chiefs, the celebrated 79-year-old Kaizer Motaung, has failed to heed calls warning him of the perils of allowing his family to run the club, which has now completed the worst season in its illustrious history.

Motaung, sometimes hailed as the father of South African football because of his pioneering role in the early 1970s, has left the club with its storied history to be run by his family but they have run it into the ground a few years after taking his place.

Interim coach of Kaizer Chiefs Cavin Johnson. | BackpagePix

In the Premiership season just ended, Chiefs finished in 10th place, the lowest finish in the club’s 54-year history.

On Saturday, many Amakhosi fans were reduced to tears in Green Point while Spurs rubbed Chiefs’ noses into the Cape Town Stadium turf in the final game of the year. Throughout the 2-0 rout, which could easily have been 4-0 if referee Tshidiso Maruping – who had a nightmare outing – had awarded Spurs two deserving penalties, the writing was on the wall.

During the match, commentator Mark Gleeson was prompted to remark: “Many Chiefs fans will have sore necks after the match unless they stop shaking their heads.”

It would seem as if Motaung has thrown in the towel already. Over the past few weeks, there have been so many calls for him to remove his family from the day-to-day running of the club.

There have been calls from all sectors of society, including past players, past coaches, politicians and sports administrators, who have all predicted that the Amakhosi’s continued fall from grace cannot be good for South African football.

Motaung has been warned that a family-run club will destroy his legacy, and not that of his family. The team’s shocking performances over the past few months have also seen a sharp decline in attendance at the FNB Stadium for home games.

The club’s hierarchy was hugely embarrassed last weekend when a smallish crowd pitched up for the Polokwane clash.

The major attraction was goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune’s 25-year service award – he joined the club as a 13-year-old development player – at an empty 90 000-seater stadium.

Despite limited game time, Khune is still far and away Chiefs’ most popular player, but it did not seem like it on the day. There were very few fans to pay tribute to Khune, who may well have played the final match of his illustrious career.

Chiefs’ interim coach Cavan Johnson was a dismal failure, too, but can be considered blameless, despite a poor record. He did not apply for the job and was moved into the hot seat when the club fired Molefi Ntseki. Nevertheless, Johnson had a win record below 30% since taking over as interim coach in October last year.

Appointing a coach is a matter of desperation but at Chiefs it is different. Appointing the correct people to appoint a coach is a far bigger matter of desperation.

Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung and the sporting director, Kaizer Motaung jr, enjoyed prominent media coverage when handing over Khune’s awards at Soccer City. They are most suited to these celebratory roles.

Chiefs’ supremo Motaung will do well to for once heed the advice of a heartbroken supporter who posted a social media message over the weekend.

It read: “Kaizer Chiefs are so close to becoming like Jomo Cosmos FC! Motaung sr fire all your children, we are tired of being embarrassed.“