Why Chiefs are out of title race with four matches still to play

Kaizer Chiefs players go through their paces during the club's recent media day at the club's Village.
Kaizer Chiefs players go through their paces during the club's recent media day at the club's Village.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu / BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs can put their calculators away, because even their mathematical chance of winning the Absa Premiership is now gone.

So what went wrong this time for the Phefeni Glamour Boys that even with four matches still to play they are no longer in contention?

Sowetan looks at five major factors that contributed to their failure this time.

Ten draws and counting...

The draws alone have seen them drop 20 points in this league campaign.

Some may argue that other teams like log leaders Orlando Pirates have drawn just as much (11 in total for Bucs), but Chiefs' rivals compensated for it with more wins (13 compared to nine for Chiefs).

Since the league was cut from 18 teams to 16 in 2002, only Chiefs drew more than 10 games in one season and still won the league on two occasions (2004/05 and 2012/13). It's therefore difficult for any team to win the league when they've dropped so many points by way of draws.

A poor start to season

Chiefs' title chances were ruined from the first whistle in August. They drew four of their first five matches and lost one to Bidvest Wits.

You'd hear a lot about a league being not a sprint, but a marathon. It's not always the reality out there.

The teams with a good start are able to give themselves some breathing space and even when things are not going so well down the line, they can still bounce back.

But when you drop so many points, as Chiefs did in their first five outings, you are already on the back foot and may end up chasing a top-eight place instead of league honours.

Lack of consistency

So far, Chiefs have only won three league matches in a row just once, when they beat Cape Town City, Free State Stars and AmaZulu in September.

Since then, they've been struggling to find their feet and that has resulted in them failing to win games on a consistent basis. That doesn't augur well for any team with the ambition to win the league. Even now, they've gone three matches without a win.

Bad record at home

In 13 matches in their own backyard, Chiefs have only won five. They've lost five and drawn three. In the "home" log, Chiefs are actually 10th. Cape Town City and Pirates are the strongest teams at home with 25 points accumulated in 13 and 14 matches respectively. For a team to win the league, you can't afford to be poor on your own turf.

Coaching change

The Italian Giovanni Solinas lasted just 11 games and by the time he was fired in December, Chiefs were 11th.

A new coach means new ideas and the players have to adapt - that can take a bit of time.

Ernst Middendorp raised hopes when he guided Chiefs to a win over SuperSport United in his first outing, but it was followed by a 2-1 defeat to Sundowns, which in itself was a reminder that he wasn't going to get Chiefs playing at their best overnight.

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