A coach can only do so much
After the team's third successive defeat at the hands of struggling Santos, Kaizer Chiefs assistant coach Doctor Khumalo declared that it is not over until is over. A bold statement from a coach whose team has just lost their third successive game and is in the process ending their title chances.
Chiefs are placed sixth with five games remaining and, judging from their performance in the last three game,s one wonders were Khumalo is drawing his optimism. I doubt if millions of Chiefs supporters will share his sentiments.
The supporters have been subjected to some traumatic displays by this Chiefs team. The players have huffed and puffed with no results. Many questioned former coach Vladimir Vermezovic’s chopping and changing policy. If people were being fair, they would have noticed that none of the players where showing any consistency. The guy will be brilliant today and the next game he is flat.
As one would expect from any coach, they will stick to someone who will deliver the goods for them. This was not the case with Chiefs. No player stood up, except for captain Itumeleng Khune and Siphiwe Tshabalala, and took responsibility. The two were shining lights of the Chiefs team. It looked as if they did not want to play. Even as the team was losing games, none of them seemed bothered. There was no character in their play.
Just a few days ago Chiefs were among the title contenders and still very much in contention for the Nedbank Cup. However, in an unexpected turn of events, the powers that be at Naturena felt it was appropriate to part ways with coach Vladimir Vermezovic. This caught many by surprise.
VV was not everyone’s favourite, however one would have expected Chiefs to allow him to finish the season. His sacking virtually sealed any hopes of Chiefs annexing any form of silverware this season. The team is playing no better than while Vermezovic was in charge. At least with him at the helm, there was a structure in place and he seemed to have an understanding of how he wanted his team to play.
As much as he had clashes with his players, at least he pushed them hard. You could see that he wanted them to win games. One would have expected the players to rise to the occasion after VV’s axing, to prove that they did not need him. Amazingly they are no better than while he was still in charge.
The coach’s sacking sent Amakhosi supporters into wild celebrations. Good riddance they said. Many believed the coach was responsible for the team’s inconsistent performances. I, however, always questioned the players' commitment to the cause.
Vermezovic replacements Donald Khuse, Khumalo and Arthur Zwane, inherited the same team. There was hope when they took over, from players and supporters alike. However, three games into their tenure the team is yet to win a single game. Under the trio, it seemed the fans' earlier optimism was misplaced. Their league has been wobbly for some time. They flatter to deceive. They lost games they should have won. For a championship-chasing side they were disappointing.
Supporters, who until recently blamed the coach, are now starting to see the players for who they really are. In their defeat against Maritzburg United, the team failed to string more than one pass together. They also failed to hold on to the ball for longer than a minute. This got the supporters questioning the players’ commitment. The social networks have been abuzz with comments from the Amakhosi faithful. One supporter tweeted, “we, as supporters hv been rising with the team, I wish the players can also do the same n rise when playing.”
One asked if Chiefs players are still walking freely in public after these performances. Luck has been attributed to the team’s lack of positive results, however one can say the players have not covered themselves in glory.
One supporter put this on Facebook, "Dear Kaizer Chiefs, how many hearts do you want to break, don't you think u've done enough damage to your fans? As for us, non-chiefs fans, we have LoL'd enough!!!"
When Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune stepped up to take up a free-kick against Maritzburg United it became apparent that Chiefs are indeed a team in distress. Chiefs have regular free-kick takers, but Khune walked all the way from his post to come and take this one ahead of the likes of Siphiwe Tshabalala. It might not mean much to many, but it raises questions about the quality of the team. Khune has never, as I can remember, ever taken a free-kick for the team.
These players are no better than their former coach and definitely not doing anything amazing under the new technical team. There is a lack of commitment from all the players. The Chiefs of the past three games was unrecognisable.
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