Shabba: Chiefs need fresh faces, more com­pe­ti­tion

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - @su­per­journo

MAYBE if he had his way, Siphiwe Tsha­bal­ala would not have made an ap­pear­ance at the Premier Soc­cer League of­fices to col­lect his Goal of the Month (April) award yes­ter­day. It was con­so­la­tion re­ally fol­low­ing a sec­ond suc­ces­sive sea­son that ended in dis­ap­point­ment for him – his club Kaizer Chiefs fail­ing to win any­thing.

To rub it in, un­in­ten­tion­ally of course, were Gavin Hunt and Moe­neeb Josephs, the Bid­vest Wits coach and goal­keeper duo who were adding yet an­other prize to their Absa Pre­mier­ship ti­tle this sea­son by col­lect­ing the Coach and Player of the Month (May) awards re­spec­tively at the same time. Tsha­bal­ala could only re­flect on a forgettable term, while Hunt and Josephs waxed lyri­cal about a his­toric feat. “Ob­vi­ously I would have rather been here with my team­mates than on my own to col­lect an in­di­vid­ual award,” said mid­fielder Tsha­bal­ala, who, per­son­ally, en­joyed some mile­stones – scor­ing his 50th goal as well as play­ing his 300th match for the Glam­our Boys, who sadly fin­ished in fourth place.

“But I have to ap­pre­ci­ate the award none­the­less. It is im­por­tant to have a re­view and see where we went wrong and see where we can im­prove. Even the cham­pi­ons are go­ing to have to do a re­view to see where they can lift their game.”

Tsha­bal­ala seemed to have come pre­pared, well aware that ques­tions di­rected at him would not be about his sweetly struck goal for Chiefs in the 2-2 draw against Su­perS­port United on April 29 at the Mbombela Sta­dium. He’d be re­minded of his club’s fail­ures in­stead.

“I think we failed as a col­lec­tive. This is not ten­nis or golf, so I can’t point out who didn’t play well and who did. I need to ask why I didn’t do enough and ev­ery­one else should ask them­selves that same ques­tion as well,” he said.

“We have to dig deeper. This was a bad sea­son and we have to go back to the draw­ing board.

“It’s not go­ing to be an off­sea­son where you switch off com­pletely.

“Yes, you can rest, but you need to know what is ex­pected of you when you get back, es­pe­cially as a se­nior player to pave the way for the young ones as well. From a form per­spec­tive, I think we still im­proved com­pared to the pre­vi­ous sea­son (Chiefs came fifth and sur­ren­dered the ti­tle to Mamelodi Sun­downs in coach Steve Kom­phela’s first sea­son).

“In terms of win­ning sil­ver­ware, there is a chal­lenge there. We are very dis­ap­pointed and we ad­mit that we failed.”

Tsha­bal­ala would not say where the team needed to do bet­ter, but point­ing out that Chiefs dropped points by con­ced­ing in the dy­ing min­utes of some cru­cial matches sug­gests he, like club chair­man Kaizer Mo­taung, thinks the de­fence needs some sta­bil­ity. The vet­eran mid­fielder added it was im­por­tant to bring in fresh faces for com­pe­ti­tion for places – per­haps a few play­ers are just too com­fort­able.

“The club will see who they want to bring in as it is the case ev­ery sea­son and hap­pens ev­ery­where. It’s only fair. On our side (as play­ers) we need to be pro­fes­sional about it. We need com­pe­ti­tion in the team and we need to strengthen,” Tsha­bal­ala ex­plained.

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