That would be an ideal start to his managerial career, which was honed mainly in the junior ranks and as second in command at Naturena. But Zwane doesn’t need an ideal start. He needs one steeped in reality.
That reality is Chiefs’ decline has been years in the making and the upward trend will not be realised immediately. It would be unfair to expect Zwane, who has taken over his first head coaching role, to perform miracles where his more experienced predecessors failed dismally.
As someone who’s played for the club and is familiar with the talent pool in its ranks, he’ll be expected to know better than other coaches who arrived to upset the applecart, with little clue how to get the club back to its glory days.
Hiring the clueless Solinas was a mistake of momentous proportions, hence he lasted no more than four months.
Ernst Middendorp almost fluked a trophy and a league title, but forever honest, football later exposed his shortcomings. Hunt didn’t have the latitude of signing his own players due to a transfer ban, but the enormity of the Chiefs job caught up with his limitations as a small-club coach.
Baxter returned last year beaming with arrogance, and that didn’t help his cause. Zwane will have been aware of all the pitfalls that sunk his predecessors, and should seek to navigate them more wisely.
First of all, he must watch what he feeds the public. Last week he was too candid about some players not meeting the standards of the club, but with time he will learn that some things are better said indoors rather than in a press conference.
A squad overhaul should be top of his priority list, especially as some contracts conclude in a month. But more than anything Zwane requires the full backing of the club hierarchy, something that will be needed to ignore the predictable noise that follows one bad result.
Entrusting former players with the task of rebuilding fallen giants seems to be a worldwide trend, with Xavi at Barcelona, Mikel Arteta at Arsenal and Frank Lampard at Everton prime examples. After years of fumbling and poor judgment, Chiefs have finally chosen the correct path and it’s now up to Zwane to sink or swim.