Sinking Kaizer Chiefs hit all-time low under Johnson

Edson Castillo of Kaizer Chiefs. | BackpagePix

Edson Castillo of Kaizer Chiefs. | BackpagePix

Published May 27, 2024



Interim coach Cavin Johnson has made a sober analysis of Kaizer Chiefs’ epic failure to finish in the DStv Premiership top-eight this season.

Chiefs incredibly lost 2-0 to Cape Town Spurs in the final day of the league season on Saturday, to finish 10th in the standings. That was an epic failure for a team that is fast losing its “mighty” tag, given that it’s also one season away from going a decade without a piece of silverware.

Interim head coach of Kaizer Chiefs Cavin Johnson. | BackpagePix

Saturday’s defeat also put a dagger in the heart in that it came playing against a team that was already relegated, and coached by someone that the Chiefs’ faithful despise.

Spurs’ coach Ernst Middendorp held the poor record of being the only man to fail to lead Chiefs to a top-eight finish in the league before Johnson. The German-born coach finished ninth with the team during two spells at the club in the 2006/2007 and 2018/2019 seasons.

However, his successor Johnson has gone one better; he has led Chiefs to a 10th-spot finish for the first time since the club’s establishment in 1970.

Many could still argue that Johnson was a quick fix for Chiefs’ coaching department after the club appointed him as Molefi Ntseki’s replacement in October last year. But the 65-year-old has been holding the post for the past seven months and he knows they weren’t good enough as a collective.

“When I took over, compared to where we are now, maybe we were a little bit better,” Johnson said in his post-match interview at the Cape Town Stadium.

“We improved and had some momentum going. But somewhere along the line we slipped. And every time we got into this position, we didn’t make it to the next level.

“That was a concern for me. We tried our utmost best. There was a time if we had won the game, we could have gone second on the log. But we didn’t.

“There are moments that we have to go back to and analyse who was on the pitch and then we can take it from there.”

Ashley Cupido of Cape Town Spurs celebrates scoring against Kaizer Chiefs. | . BackpagePix

Like any other team in the top-flight, Chiefs struggled with suspensions and injuries during the league season. As such, these shortcomings presented challenges to Johnson as he had to chop and change his team, trying new combinations that he thought would work.

However, Johnson is not hiding behind that. He believes that whoever was called up for duty should have represented the team well.

“I don’t think so,” Johnson explained, on whether their eventualities led them to their poor finish.

“When you play for Kaizer Chiefs, whether you have 18 players or 35, they should all have the qualities. They should all know what this badge or institution is all about.

“But when you analyse it like that, yes, we have had a lot of injuries this season. Whether that affected our rhythm, yes or no, only God can tell us that. I am not God. It affected us in some moments, but I don’t think it affected us to do our best.”

Michael Morton of Cape Town Spurs celebrates his goal against Kaizer Chiefs at Cape Town Stadium. | BackpagePix

Johnson might not be God, but he knows that he’s had a below-par audition for the coaching post, and therefore the club will be led by someone else next season. And for a coach that once led the defunct and “so-called” smaller Platinum Stars to a second-place finish, and was an assistant coach at Al Ahly, his stint at Chiefs was disappointing,

Chiefs are considered one of the big clubs on the continent due to their resources and financial muscle, making the institution every coach’s dream. Johnson says he’s not sure whether he’ll be demoted to head of youth and scout role next season or will be completely sacked, as he’s still hurting for now.

“At the moment, I am heartsore as the coach,” Johnson said. “But for the future, I will have to see. Right now, I am really not happy (with how things panned out).”

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