The remaking of Kaizer Chiefs
A new-look Kaizer Chiefs is on the cards after a massive clear-out this week.
Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung said the club would unveil no fewer than 15 players later this month to replace the ones leaving Naturena.
He said they had a clear mandate to acquire fresh legs to take the team forward.
“It was a tough call, but we needed it. Change was inevitable after taking stock of the previous season,” said Motaung.
He said it was obvious that the team needed a complete overhaul, but he insisted it did not mean failure on the part of management.
He said that the likes of Morgan Gould, Siboniso Gaxa and Reneilwe Letsholonyane had achieved all they could at Chiefs and there was nothing more they could offer.
He conceded it was tough to acquire their targets – such as Bidvest Wits’ Sibusiso Vilakazi and Thapelo Morena from Bloemfontein Celtic.
“It is an open secret that we have engaged Wits over Vilakazi, but we were turned down several times. They told us there is a club that has offered them R11 million plus a striker, and we don’t have that kind of money for one player. I told them that, if I were in their shoes, I’d accept that offer,” said Motaung.
He said Celtic had also turned them down for the services of Morena.
But it was rather surprising that Motaung bragged about the “Rea Vaya” bus loading players from Naturena.
This is the same Motaung who arranged for those players that are now deemed surplus to requirements to wear the black and gold.
It says a lot about the quality of Motaung’s dealings or lack thereof.
This week’s dumping of 20 players at Naturena is proof, perhaps, that Motaung has actually failed to spot the right talent for Amakhosi over the past season or so.
But he was defiant, saying that the club’s squad make-up was a collective effort.
“We’d still do the same thing [dumping players] if it doesn’t work again in future,” he said.
Unfortunately, it is the players, not Motaung, who are the ones paying the biggest price.
From the outset, there were question marks over the purchase of the likes of Bongani Ndulula and Edward Manqele. The latter has been at Chiefs for less than six months after arriving in January.
Keegan Ritchie, Siyanda Xulu and Ndulula arrived before the start of the season but did not do enough during their season.
Only three of their recruits from last year – Daniel Cardoso, Camaldine Abraw and William Twala – have survived the guillotine.
In all fairness, most of the released players were not regulars at Chiefs and just fringe squad members (see box).
A fresh start
After a disastrous 2016/17 season, Chiefs are showing their steely intentions to rebuild and give Coach Steve Komphela all the backing he needs to thrive next season.
Chiefs surrendered their Absa Premiership title without putting up much of a fight and will have to respond next season. But that will depend on who they can buy on the market.
They will have to approach the new transfer window period aggressively and should spend wisely on quality players.
Amakhosi should break the bank to get whoever they want.
Vilakazi would be the perfect replacement for Letsholonyane, and Morena would also add the much-needed pace going forward. The two, together with May Mahlangu, would add the sort of spark we haven’t seen them play with this year.
Chiefs have already been linked with Joseph Molangoane and Thamsanqa Sangweni – both from Chippa United – Keagan Buchanan from Celtic and Maritzburg United duo Deolin Mekoa and Evans Rusike. Mamelodi Sundowns captain Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Kudakwashe Mahachi and Thulani Hlatshwayo have also been mentioned.
They need Hlatshwayo to complement Eric Mathoho and the young Lorenzo Gordinho.
Komphela will have no excuses left if he fails, as he would have had a hand in picking the players he will be working with.