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Chiefs caretaker Arthur Zwane has a reputation as a coach not to be messed with

Kaizer Chiefs assistant coach Arthur Zwane punches through the air in celebration.
Kaizer Chiefs assistant coach Arthur Zwane punches through the air in celebration.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Arthur Zwane‚ who takes charge of Kaizer Chiefs for their final two games of the 2020-21 DStv Premiership following the dismissal of head coach Gavin Hunt‚ has a reputation as a tough-as-nails coach not to be messed with.

Zwane has been handed the senior coaching role along with co-caretaker Dillon Sheppard – previously Hunt’s assistants – facing the daunting task of trying to steer 11th-placed Chiefs into the top eight‚ or at least not lower than their previous worst ninth.

The pair will take charge of Chiefs in their second-last match against third-placed Lamontville Golden Arrows at FNB Stadium on Wednesday evening (kickoff 5pm).

Chiefs’ young contingent also know stylish ex-Jomo Cosmos right-wing Zwane‚ who had a stellar playing career at Amakhosi‚ as being along the lines of the Pulp Fiction character Marsellus Wallace‚ such was his ability to be a scary tough guy as a youth coach at Chiefs.

Chiefs’ 21-year-old midfielder Njabulo Blom said it was the toughness instilled by Zwane – formerly head of the under-21s‚ and still the Diski Challenge reserve coach – that has seen many of Amakhosi’s young brigade transition successfully to the first team.

“He would push us and be demanding towards us in the development. At some point we were at the point where we thought that he didn’t like us‚” Blom said.

“But then‚ now we see that the hard work that we put in that side is paying off‚ and we’d like to thank him for guiding us.

“He was really hard on us‚ and he still is really hard on us. He always wants the best for us.

“That hardness helped us because now we’re here playing for the first team. I think if he hadn’t been hard on us we’d be maybe playing for other teams or maybe still in the reserve team.”

Chiefs (30 points) will struggle to make the top eight – they are five points behind current eighth-placed side TS Galaxy. The best they might expect‚ even if they win both their last two games under Zwane and Sheppard‚ is to avoid worse than ninth.

“Look‚ we are in a situation that we all know is a difficult one. We need to grind results‚” Zwane said. “We are in a situation where we have to get maximum points at all costs.”

Chiefs’ caretaker said he does not see his first head coaching task as an opportunity‚ as much as being called on in a time of need by the club.

“I’ve been taking things one step at a time. I’m one person who believes in working hard and waiting for things to come to you‚ not you start chasing things‚” he said.

“I cannot say that it’s an opportunity. I can say that the club just believed that I can take the team forward until the end of the season.”

Chiefs meet Galaxy in their final game at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.