“You can never say you are done in this game,” says Football Manager Bobby Motaung as he reflects on the window period that has just closed. “This is a journey. For now, we have what we need in terms of our strategy going forward. We are on track and now our focus is on rolling up the sleeves and work hard to achieve the set objectives.”
It has been a busy off-season for Kaizer Chiefs with players moving in and out of Naturena. “The market is not a bed of roses,” continues Motaung dressing a confident look. “We go into the market knowing there will always be challenges but I am happy we found the missing pieces of the puzzle. We had to make changes as part of resolving the challenges we faced last season but also to plan for the continuous improvement of the team.”
Chiefs released sixteen inclusive number of players for an assortment of reasons. Some players had their contracts ending and were not renewed, while others had their contracts terminated on mutually beneficial terms. There were also loan deals clinched especially for the youngsters who require some experience before they can break into the First Team.
On his reflection of players who’ve left the team, Motaung says: “Look, at times players come here at the back of good performances and highly recommended. However, with all intents and purposes, some players fail to make the expected grade and some with their immense talent can’t adapt to our demanding set-up. Pressure comes in different forms; it can be competition or simply the overwhelming pressure that comes with the jersey and the badge.”
Out: Yusuf Bunting, Mario Booysen, Ryan Moon, Brylon Petersen, Khotso Malope, Teenage Radebe, Gustavo Páez, Hendrick Ekstein, Bhongolethu Jayiya, Virgil Vries, Andriamirado ‘Dax’ Andrianarimanana, Emmanuel Letlotlo and Letlhogonolo Mirwa
“We had to look at the youngsters that we brought up from the Development Academy,” says Motaung, “These youngsters still need to pick up some experience by gaining regular game time. We identified the three promising youngsters and thought they will mature with the opportunity of going on loan to Swallows in the NFD. We will monitor their performance and hopefully they’ll come back to feature for us.”
Loan: Given Thibedi, Itumeleng Shopane and Ayanda Rorwana.
“In terms of the new arrivals, we did our planning well in advance before the previous season came to an end,” reveals Motaung. “I can say all the negotiations went very well and finally we welcomed the five players we needed this season. This is a process; you might find that in January Window Period arises the need to effect some changes.”
In: Lazalous Kambole (Midfield, Zambia); Samir Nurkovic (Striker, Serbia); James Kotei (Midfield, Ghana); Kearyn Baccus (Midfield, Australia) and Yagan Sasman (Fullback, Cape Town)
“We also look into the future, hence we promoted youngster from the MDC Team, Twala and already we had mid-season promoted Njabulo Blom (Fullback), Bontle Molefe (Goalkeeper) and Happy Mashiane (Left back),” he says.
Promotion: Sizwe Twala (Striker, Chiefs Academy)
“Things are looking great. It is work in progress though. It is still early days but very important to have a good start. Credit must go to our supporters for always keeping us in check. We are here to serve this badge and the supporters. We are grateful the supporters are voting positively by attending the matches in big numbers,” he says.
Amakhosi are on top of the log with 10 points after four matches played – beating Black Leopards and playing a draw against SuperSport United both at home and winning both their away matches to Highlands Park and Cape Town City. Nurković, Baccus and Kambole already made their debuts. Nurković and Baccus already inked their names on the scoresheets. Nurković has also clinched the Man of the Match accolade. This happened in the Cape Town thriller against Cape Town City last Tuesday.
“We must also note some of our players return to play after struggling with injuries last season,” concludes Motaung. “Players such as Lebo Manyama and Mulomowandau Mathoho have shrugged off their injuries and already showing fine form early in the season. Remember there is Itumeleng Khune as well who was injured for the better part of last season. He is declared fit to play now which creates good competition in the goalkeeping area.”
The Window Period closed at midnight on Monday, 2 September 2019.