Kaizer Chiefs a laughing stock because coaches ‘do their best’ instead of win

Coach Cavin Johnson tries to get his Kaizer Chiefs team in shape during their 1-0 loss to Stellenbosch FC on Tuesday. Photo: ITUMELENG ENGLISH Independent Newspapers

Coach Cavin Johnson tries to get his Kaizer Chiefs team in shape during their 1-0 loss to Stellenbosch FC on Tuesday. Photo: ITUMELENG ENGLISH Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 4, 2024


Comment by Herman Gibbs

After slumping to their eighth Premiership defeat of the season, Kaizer Chiefs continue to pay a heavy price for appointing a coach who “does his best”.

The Chiefs hierarchy have not opted for a coach who produces results and who has proved his worth at the helm of a high-profile team.

Despite Chiefs’ storied history, there are no signs that the club’s prolonged trophy drought will end any time soon.

Another season of failures could see the once-mighty Amakhosi, whose barren trophy run dates to 2015, go without silverware for a decade.

On Tuesday night, Chiefs tasted defeat yet again in their Soccer City backyard, where visiting Stellenbosch ran out 1-0 winners.

According to Chiefs' interim coach Cavin Johnson, his team were felled by a “sucker punch goal – it happens in football”.

Chiefs’ glut of defeats has dominated local football storylines, and it was no wonder that the media grilled Johnson at the post-match conference.

Reporters were not pulling punches, and Johnson was subjected to a few awkward exchanges following questions about his future at the Glamour Boys.

Johnson, initially appointed as Chiefs’ head of academy, took over as interim coach following Molefi Ntseki’s dismissal last October.

He has presided over 14 games, and so far during his tenure, Chiefs have five wins, four draws and five defeats. Consequently, there are genuine concerns about the team’s performance under his leadership.

Some of the questions went as follows: “Are you the right man to coach Chiefs?”; “When Chiefs sit down to appoint their next head coach, should your name go into the hat?”; and “Do you think you should carry on as the coach until the end of the season?”

Johnson assured the media that he was doing his best. He also assured the media that the players were doing their best, although he was highly critical of their performance against Stellenbosch.

His criticisms did not fall on deaf ears, and as a result, pertinent headlines followed: “Johnson disappointed in players” and “Johnson criticises the technique of his players”.

The 65-year-old mentor took exception to being referred to as an interim coach. He declared: “There’s no interim coach anywhere in the world. You do the job because you are offered the job, and you have to do your best.”

That comment may be at the heart of Chiefs’ lack of success over the last while. Johnson did not apply for the post, but the Amakhosi, in their wisdom, offered him the job – and he has been a failure.

However, since he did not apply for the post, those who offered him the job should be held accountable. These are also the officials who appointed previous coaches Ntseki and Arthur Zwane – two further failures.

Following Ntseki and Zwane’s shortcomings, Chiefs should have realised that they were not capable of making sound coaching appointments.

Instead, they carried on as before and appointed Johnson.

It is worth noting that before Ntseki, Zwane and Johnson, Chiefs had super coaches like Stuart Baxter, Gavin Hunt and Ernst Middendorp, who had won many trophies in the PSL arena.

However, the Chiefs hierarchy interfered with the basic duties of these coaches, and the team performances suffered as a result.

Many appeals to chairman Kaizer Motaung to remove family members from key management positions have fallen on deaf ears.

In the interest of the ‘Khosi Nation’, let’s hope that Motaung does the next best thing and sells his shares in the club and moves on. That way, the administration will be the task of professionals rather than family members.