Ad

Kaizer Chiefs Supporters Want Zwane Out

Back in April 2022—when I and most of the football fanatics thought Arthur Zwane would be named the next Kaizer Chiefs head coach. I wrote that Arthur would “bring the best of Amakhosi” to the mighty Glamour Boys, I vividly recall. And our significant stakeholders, which are fans, were pushing the management to give Zwane a chance to lead one of the biggest teams in Africa.

And of course, Zwane was hired by Chiefs in May 2022, a decision made by the club’s management and probably 70 if not 80 percent of its supporters. Actually, 10 111, as Zwane is known in the football fraternity, was succeeding coach Stuart Baxter, who got fired in April of the same year. To be simplistic about it, the English-man failed at Chiefs because the club was taking a different direction compared to what he wanted. The influences of the philosophy that Zwane possessed was far from what Baxter was implying. Hence, we can safely say Zwane is a Chiefs Man.

ALSO READ: Zwane reacts to Kaizer Chiefs fans booing him

Baxter—not a Chiefs Man—was never loved during his second stint at the club by the supporters and, thus, they didn’t give him a very long leash. By the end, he certainly got dismissed. Chiefs last won several official trophies under him during his first spell. But maybe the other problem with Baxter was his antiquated and often confusing style of play. One of the reasons supporters were so adamant about getting him out was because of how clear it had become that the game had passed him by, tactically speaking. Baxter was once on the cutting edge of the game, but he had turned into an old dog with no new tricks. Supporters wanted someone on the cutting edge tactically who approached the game from a modern perspective, like Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena, and we all thought that Zwane was the right person.

As we all know how impatient Chiefs’ fans are, they need results under the “building Process” term. The club currently occupies fifth spot in the DStv Premiership log standings and failed to reach at least 30 points in 20 matches, which is rare for them—supporters have turned against Zwane, they want him fired. They sang Zwane out, Zwane out after their heartful 3-2 defeat to Golden Arrows at Peter Mokaba Stadium two weeks ago.

When he got the job, it was easy to imagine a world where the supporters were more lenient toward a coach with a connection to Chiefs. We all thought fans would certainly support Zwane in his three year-deal—but it turned out to be the opposite. They are now sagging their coach the way they slagged Baxter as results are not improving markedly, though a small portion of fans understand the unenviable situation in which Zwane finds himself.

WHY I THINK ZWANE MUST BE GIVEN A FAIR CHANCE

Zwane shows potential to be a great coach. Perhaps what’s most exciting and interesting about him as Chiefs mentor, from my personal perspective – is that he has the opportunity and potential to combine the philosophies of the former club’s winning coaches and his experience as he coached the development of the club over a decade.

In retrospect, it’s clear that Chiefs supporters wanted someone with some kind of connection to the club, which is understandable considering he spent two decades with the same beloved club. So perhaps supporters must be patient with him as I think he will turn things around as time goes by considering that he knows the team better.

ZWANE HAS NO MANAGERIAL SKILLS, BUT HE’S A GOOD SAMARITAN FOR KAIZER CHIEFS

He may not have any managerial experience, but he knows the club and is loved by its supporters. Thanks to his time captaining it and the part he played in the development of quality players like Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, Happy Mashiane, Mduduzi Tshabalala, just to mention few. We may not know how he plans to deploy his team tactically—although we have hints. But we know he’s been heavily influenced by the philosophy of the club, which the club used during his playing time. All Zwane must do is to come up with technical skills like Mokwena as I mentioned, whose Sundowns side plays an exciting, modern brand of soccer Masandawana fans covet.

Zwane ticks every imaginable box except one: He’s never managed a team before. That seems to be what kept him from getting the first team job a few years ago, which is understandable. For me, going out again to fetch someone because he has the experience. It will be another blander by the team as they did when they reappointed Baxter in 2021. Past success doesn’t guarantee future success, I am more willing to see Chiefs roll the dice and gamble on Zwane. It’s a high-risk, high-reward scenario.

ALSO READ: Bad day in the office for Chiefs and Zwane 

Though Zwane seems equipped to handle the project. And at this point – Amakhosi are seemingly essentially out of contention for the top two and a spot in the CAF Champions League via that route. It’s itching dangerously closer to failing to qualify for the Confederation League as well. At this point, the season is a wash, essentially giving Zwane time to prepare for the preseason to begin planning for the 2023-24 campaign, when his job would truly begin, according to me. And if he manages to right the ship earlier than expected and challenge to qualify for African soccer, all the better. But no one will begrudge him for getting more poor results out of what is a damaged, sub-par squad.

10 111 doesn’t strike me as a character who would tolerate a half-season of poor results, though. Zwane has said that as a manager, he expects total commitment from his players, something Mokwena gets from his Sundowns players and Gavin Hunt gets from his SuperSport United players. Although he may not be able to elevate the skill and technical acumen of the squad immediately, he could bring a renewed work ethic inspired by how Downs plays.

In conclusion, let Chiefs hand a chance to Zwane. Maybe he’ll be the savant he’s been billed as since joining Chiefs. Or perhaps he won’t live up to the hype. The only way to find out is if Chiefs management does not panic by a few games and let him continue, which seems increasingly likely. At the very least, he can’t do worse than the last guy.

By Clifton Mabasa 

Ad

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *