Chiefs fans calling for Zwane’s return a curveball for Amakhosi

Kaizer Chiefs supporters are arguing that Arthur Zwane should return as head coach of the club. | BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs supporters are arguing that Arthur Zwane should return as head coach of the club. | BackpagePix

Published Apr 10, 2024



Cavin Johnson’s failed rescue mission at Kaizer Chiefs has reduced the team to such a dire state that some of the supporters have thrown a curveball the way of the Naturena club.

Chiefs have suffered back-to-back losses in their last two DStv Premiership games, resulting in the team running the risk of losing out on a lucrative Top 8 spot. That isn’t going down well with their supporters, with some calling for Johnson to be sacked and replaced by his predecessor Arthur Zwane.

Kaizer Chiefs supporters are arguing that Arthur Zwane should return as head coach of the club. | BackpagePix

It’s a confusing state of affairs for the supporters to want Zwane’s return – even if it’s on a temporary basis – after they plotted his downfall.

After eight disastrous seasons, Zwane was regarded as the new messiah by Chiefs’ faithful and bosses after being appointed as the head coach last season.

He seemed to fit that tag very well, having spent the last decade at the club as a player before transitioning into coaching and cutting his teeth in the youth structures.

So he knew – and still knows – the ‘Chiefs way’ like the back of his hand. Hence, he was expected to implement it where it mattered the most: at senior team level. But boy, Zwane found the going tough at the top, with the time he had to plough and harvest the Chiefs way in the youth structures rarely afforded him in the first XI.

Cavin Johnson has failed to spark the club towards any meaningful success as interim coach this season. | BackpagePix

Chiefs’ hot and cold run in Zwane’s first season reached fever pitch with every passing defeat and he became a victim of the supporters’ violent behaviour.

And that was a bleak sight for a club that prides itself on the mantra of “love and peace”, as there was nothing loving nor peaceful about the fans’ behaviour.

With pressure mounting from the same supporters “who wanted one of their own”, Chiefs ran for safety, demoting Zwane back to his assistant role this season. Like his ascension, his decline was met with a standing ovation. But it was the appointment of Molefi Ntseki as Zwane’s successor that didn’t please many.

According to the discerning supporter, Chiefs should have gone for a tried-and-tested coach who has a proven track record in club football and of winning trophies.

After all, there was the matter of ending the eight-year barren run, a box that Ntseki wasn’t promising to tick after an underwhelming stint with the national teams.

Former head coach Molefi Ntseki succeeded Arthur Zwane without much success. | BackpagePix

Indeed, Ntseki’s appointment also didn’t last – the club’s former youth and technical director sacked only four months into the job.

His stint was also muddied by the violent behaviour from the fans, which had cost the club millions of rand following sanctions from the Premier Soccer League.

Chiefs again ran for a quick fix, transforming renowned coach Johnson from a youth and scouting director into an interim coach until further notice.

It seemed a perfect temporary solution until the end of the season given Johnson’s coaching record, which includes being an assistant coach at Al Ahly at some point. But after not signing new players in January and showing no signs of improvement after the month-long Afcon break, cracks started to show under Johnson.

Johnson extended Chiefs’ barren run to nine seasons, failing to beat minnows Milford in the Nedbank Cup opening round to make things worse.

Those cracks have since become toppled walls as Johnson seems to have also lost the dressing room, with some players masquerading as coaches on the bench.

That – and Chiefs’ poor run of form – has left a bitter taste in the mouths of the supporters as they are now calling for Johnson’s head. Social media has been flooded with talk of Zwane returning to finish off the season.

They argue it’s only to save the season and pave the way for a new coach next season, but it’s still a curveball given the horrific treatment they gave him.