Five things ailing Chiefs must do if they are to regain their former glory
After the debris has been cleaned up at Moses Mabhida Stadium following the Nedbank Cup encounter between Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars that was marred by fan violence‚ the spotlight now falls on the ailing Naturena club.
So what does the future hold for the increasingly limping Chiefs‚ two years ahead of their 50th anniversary?
The unjustifiable violent conduct of the hooligans who masqueraded as Chiefs supporters was fueled by a three-year failure of now former coach Steve Komphela and his team's inability to bring major silverware to Naturena.
The question that must now be answered is what Amakhosi need to do to restore the allure of old?
Below are five things Chiefs must do if they are to regain their former glory.
1) Technical team
There’s no doubt that Chiefs’ technical department must have a major haul.
Bringing in a new coach for the sake of it‚ won’t work.
The caliber of the coach and his technical team will be key to the team’s revival.
Chiefs need a coach who is going to hit the ground running because no self-respecting Chiefs supporters – not the hooligans who caused R2.6 million worth of damage to Moses Mabhida on Saturday – will accept another extended wait for silverware three-year dry season under Komphela.
Chiefs needs a coach who’s going to revive their playing style and culture‚ which had measured confidence‚ arrogance and no respect for the opposition.
They need a coach with stature and guts to tell the club bosses what he wants and the kind of players he needs to speed up his plans to bring success.
2) Goalkeeping depth
One of Komphela’s faults was overplaying Itumeleng Khune to an extent of the latter feeling he was entitled to his position.
There were many matches of less stature where Komphela was expected to give No2 Brilliant Khuzwayo a chance‚ but the much vilified former coach never took that chance.
This resulted in Khune playing without any serious competitor who could keep him on his toes.
It came as no surprise when Khuzwayo announced that he wanted out at the end of the current campaign.
His departure‚ if he indeed follows through with the veiled threats‚ will mean that Chiefs have to find a reliable number two in case Khune needs rest‚ is out of form or gets injured.
With age increasingly no longer on his side‚ Khune might take longer to heal if he’s injured and during that period Chiefs will have to rely on a suitable deputy.
3) Find a way to use Ntshangase effectively
Siphelele Ntshangase has been hugely underused at Chiefs since joining the club from Baroka FC in January.
With a coach who knows how to slot him in as a vital cog to the machine‚ playing as a conductor in the midfield‚ he is likely to revive Chiefs’ fortunes.
Komphela has pointed out that Ntshangase needs to improve his defence‚ but the reality is if he is played as the attacking midfielder that he is‚ there will be no reason to worry much about defending.
If Ntshangase plays for a team which prioritize attacking‚ his value to the club will be realised.
What Ntshangase needs is a coach who’ll be brave enough to play him to his strength.
4) Build a new senior nucleus around Khune‚ Mathoho and Mphahlele
These are some of the senior players that Chiefs should build their future around.
These players need no reminding of what it means to play for Chiefs‚ with two of them having tasted victory with Stuart Baxter and other coaches before that.
Building from the back should be a safe bet for Chiefs given their vulnerability at the moment.
If the 3-4-3 system that was so well-liked by Khomphela didn’t suit Chiefs and its personnel‚ these are players who may have the guts to tell the new coach to revert to a flat four-man defence and take things from there.
5) Revamp the central defensive midfield
If there’s any big South African club which needs the services of the now available former Orlando Pirates midfielder Andile Jali more‚ it is Chiefs.
Willard Katsande has excellently done his bit for many years at Chiefs and it is now time for the Zimbabwean to be phased out with a senior and experienced player like Jali lined-up to eventually take charge of things in the Amakhosi engine room.
Katsande will turn 33 in January and can’t be expected to play all the matches.
Like Khune‚ Katsande needs an able competitor who won’t take time to fit and adapt in the team’s way of playing if he’s out of the side.