The re­mak­ing of Kaizer Chiefs

CityPress - - Sport -

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.

The prob­lem

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.

The fu­ture

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.

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