Johnson reckons Chiefs can still make top 3

Coach confident ‘the tide will turn’

23 April 2024 - 08:40
By Sihle Ndebele
Eighteen-year-old Kaizer Chiefs dribbling wizard Mfundo Vilakazi.
Image: Lefty Shivambu Eighteen-year-old Kaizer Chiefs dribbling wizard Mfundo Vilakazi.

While even their chances of finishing in the top eight look slim at the rate they are losing games, Kaizer Chiefs interim coach Cavin Johnson has insisted they haven't yet thrown in the towel yet on their chances of securing continental football next season.

The struggling Chiefs suffered their third successive defeat away to Richards Bay at the weekend. Amakhosi have now lost 10 league games with six matches left. The Soweto giants are 10 points behind third-placed Orlando Pirates, who aim to topple Stellenbosch from position two and qualify for the CAF Champions League, not the Confederation Cup which comes with third place.

"I never say goodbye until the last game. For us that [earning a CAF spot] isn't out of our way and the players know that. It is a major pressure that we are under now but we have to break the pressure bubble somewhere,'' Johnson said.

Johnson is convinced that their woes only stem from failing to convert chances. The Chiefs caretaker felt they dominated Bay but only failed to score.

"The tide has to turn for Kaizer Chiefs somewhere. We have to get better in front of goals because as far as ball possession is concerned and as far as playing the right players is concerned, I don't think we are making mistakes,'' Johnson said.

"Again, it was one of those games where your opposition has one chance and get a goal whereas you have 85% ball possession [in fact they had 63%] and you are not able to win the game. We are very angry with ourselves. I think we should have won the game in the first half because we got into the box quite a few times and we lacked calmness.''

Johnson also weighed in on youngster Mfundo Vilakazi's performance against Bay after replacing Pule Mmodi in the 66th minute. The 18-year-old dribbling wizard, who's just penned a new deal that will keep him at Chiefs until 2028, showed flashes of brilliance.

"I think he [Vilakazi] did a lot. I think he made the fans happy. We need to give him a little bit more time to settle in on the field with Kaizer Chiefs,'' Johnson said.