Why Kaizer Chiefs are in the midst of a crisis

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Anthony Akumu Agay with Lazarous Kambole of Kaizer Chiefs run on the field before a Premiership match between against SuperSport United at FNB Stadium on February 20, 2021 in Johannesburg.
Anthony Akumu Agay with Lazarous Kambole of Kaizer Chiefs run on the field before a Premiership match between against SuperSport United at FNB Stadium on February 20, 2021 in Johannesburg.

Kaizer Chiefs’ 0-4 Caf Champions League defeat in Burkina Faso a few days ago matched their heaviest losing margin and if they suffer another defeat against Angola's Petro de Luanda at FNB Stadium on Saturday they will equal their longest winless run.

In their sixth season without a trophy‚ the question is whether Chiefs have hit a low point. Here are five things that show that Chiefs are in a crisis

1) Senior players are not coming to the party

Chiefs’ problems are largely due to the fact that senior players have not contributed as expected on the field with solid performances.

The likes of Itumeleng Khune‚ Eric Mathoho‚ Daniel Cardoso‚ Ramahlwe Mphahlele‚ Willard Katsande‚ Lebogang Manyama‚ Kearyn Baccus‚ Khama Billiat‚ Bernard Parker and Samir Nurković have blown hot and cold.

Chiefs have lost some of the matches they should have won because they clearly lack leadership on the field with senior players not inspiring the younger and inexperienced ones being introduced currently.

2) Their defence is leaking

After 17 matches‚ Chiefs have conceded 20 goals and they are among the teams with the worst defensive record in the league.

Championship teams are built on strong defences and Amakhosi‚ who have failed to win a match after eight outings in all competitions‚ have dismally failed to keep the back door shut this troubled campaign.

Coach Gavin Hunt‚ known particularly for organising tough defensive combinations at his previous clubs‚ will be disappointed at this aspect.

3) Pressure on the younger players

One of the positives things that under-pressure Hunt has managed to achieve this season has been giving opportunities to younger players from the development structures.

Hunt has given opportunities to highly promising Happy Mashiane‚ Njabulo Blom‚ Darrel Matsheke and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo‚ but enormous expectation is weighing heavily on the especially with senior players not coming to the party.

4) Numbers on the log standings don’t lie

As things stands now‚ 10th placed Chiefs are 17 points adrift of log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns who have played a match less. At the rate they are going‚ without a win in their last five league matches‚ Amakhosi are unlikely to launch a late and spectacular bid to win the league.

They are also going to be under pressure from the rest of the teams that are sitting on the middle of the table during the run-in as they will be fighting for a top eight places. That this is the second season in three campaigns that Amakhosi are battling to even make the top eight – they finished ninth in 2018-19 – is another indicator that the problems run deeper than this season’s coaching staff and squad‚ and of a club in crisis.

5) Another season without a trophy

It is a well-documented fact that Chiefs were not able to sign players for the past two transfer windows due to Fifa’s ban‚ but that in itself speaks largely about problems at a management level at the club. Hunt will be an easy target but he inherited an ageing team that was not properly refreshed with new talent over the past few years.

Chiefs make big signings every four or five years‚ while their big three competitors Sundowns and Orlando Pirates do the same almost every transfer window. The result is a weak squad that has come back to bite Chiefs in six trophyless campaigns. Some of the players have gone past their sell-by date and the younger ones are still inexperienced at this level to carry the team out of the troubles that the club finds itself in.