What has gone wrong at Kaizer Chiefs?

Chiefs fans celebrate as their team scores a goal during the Absa Premiership match between Kaizer Chiefs and Vasco da Gama at FNB Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Soweto, South Africa  (Nov. 26, 2010 - Source: Gallo Images/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Chiefs fans celebrate as their team scores a goal during the Absa Premiership match between Kaizer Chiefs and Vasco da Gama at FNB Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Soweto, South Africa

(Nov. 26, 2010 - Source: Gallo Images/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Often times than not, when a club is not performing well, the coach is the one who is primarily blamed for the bad results. As such, when things get bad, he is the first one to be shown the door rather than the players. This is no different for the so-called big teams in various leagues around the world. The expectations are always high for coaches overseeing these big clubs and poor performances are not necessarily tolerated.

The year 2018 will certainly go down as one of the worst years in Kaizer Chiefs’ 48-year rich history. The thought of having three different coaches taking charge of the club in a space of a year is a reflection of the challenges faced by the club. Worse, the thought of going nearly four full seasons without a trophy further puts more question marks regarding the situation at the club.

This was evident when the club decided to sack Steve Komphela due to a series of poor results by the mighty Amakhosi. Now, out came Bra Steve and in came little known Italian coach Giovanni Solinas, who was tasked with bringing back the club’s glory days. The first few months were not too bad for Solinas as Amakhosi slowly gained momentum and started picking up points in the ABSA premier league. However, inconsistency crept in once more and Amakhosi were back to square one, miles behind the top of the league table and dumped out of some of the league’s cup tournaments such as the MTN 8 and the Telkom Knockout. It was no surprise when fans began to call for Solinas’ head as Chiefs were quickly becoming a laughing stock in the league and the two consecutive losses to sworn rivals Orlando Pirates put the last nail in the coffin, prompting the club authorities to act and ultimately sack Solinas after just 22 games at the helm. Thereafter, the club made an unpopular choice in hiring former coach Ernst Middendorp to lead the team.

Middendorp’s start to life has also been somewhat lukewarm from my own observation. Although there have been some improvements in the team’s performances, particularly in the league, it is still not enough for one to confidently say the cracks at the club have been fixed. It will take some time. Take for instance the club’s latest setback, being eliminated from the CAF Confederations tournament by Zambian side Zesco United during the playoffs. The recent loss has further drilled down the holes of vulnerability, lingering around the club at the moment. Furthermore, the club’s misfortunes have also been worsened by the injury to captain and number one goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune whose absence has been greatly felt.

The thought of having three different coaches taking charge of the club in a space of a year is a reflection of the challenges faced by the club. Worse, the thought of going nearly four full seasons without a trophy further puts more question marks regarding the situation at the club.
— Siphosethu Thwala, FirstTouch Africa

Now, with Chiefs being seven points behind log leaders Bidvest Wits who also have a game in hand, it seems it might all but be another trophyless season for the Amakhosi, unless they go all the way in the Nedbank Cup. However, one cannot help but acknowledge the fact that not all is well in the Amakhosi camp. Whilst coach Midderndorp has tried to improve the team’s performances, it remains evident that there are challenges in the club that need to be resolved as soon as possible. What’s more, the injuries to a number of key players like Khune, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, George Maluleka and others, have hugely affected the team and at times exposed the depth (or lack of) in the team. At present, Kaizer Chiefs do not look anything like title contenders and if they want to challenge for the league, then big decisions need to be made. Also, one can argue that the team needs someone who has a strong reputation of winning trophies to lead the team and perhaps only then can the team really fancy their chances against the other big teams in the league. What are your thoughts on the current problems at Amakhosi?