New Year’s Message
Kaizer Motaung, Kaizer Chiefs Executive Chairman
As we exit 2018, we reflect on the last 12 months. We didn’t start the season well, which was mostly the result of how we finished the 2017/2018 season. We had the exit of Steve Komphela, which was a sad state of affair, especially considering how it happened.
It’s unfortunate that in this day and age, we still have in our midst people who are uncivilised to the point where they deliberately spoil the work and gains our football has made over the years. We completely condemn those who behave like hooligans. That’s not good for the sport and our country.
We know that only a tiny minority of the people at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in April misbehaved. It was good to see that, in more recent games, our supporters at the same stadium stood together against hooliganism and violence. Football is a game that the country should be proud of, as it unifies people and communities.
As regards the team, we had to act to remedy the situation and that’s why we decided to give the coaching reins to Giovanni Solinas. We were disappointed when we realised that we had to make amends once more.
The results during the first half of the season were not good, nor were the performances. That’s why we had to fast-track our decision and accordingly, brought in new coach, Ernst Middendorp, as well as new assistant coach, Shaun Bartlett.
Middendorp was at Chiefs before and had a fairly good spell, even though the coach didn’t see the end of the second season. He did, however, win trophies, including the SAA Supa 8, the Absa Cup and the Vodacom Challenge after beating Manchester United in the final.
The German comes with a wealth of experience and is the only coach in South Africa who had two opportunities to take charge of a Bundesliga side. Shaun also comes in with much experience, both internationally and locally. On top of that, he gained valuable knowledge during his time as a head coach in recent years.
We hope that this pair will take us forward and we are definitely looking for better performances of our first team.
As far as acquisitions are concerned, when we brought in Solinas, we had assembled a very good squad, much better than the one Steve Komphela had to work with. We therefore hope that, once the team stabilises under the new technical team, we will get results. However, as always, working with a squad of players is work in progress – it’s about constantly making tweaks here and there.
We are happy though that our Kaizer Chiefs Youth Development Academy continuous to groom quality players. It was good to see that Nkosingiphile Ngcobo and Njabulo Blom were both part of the Amajita side that recently won the Under-20 Cosafa Cup and consequently qualified for the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations in February 2019.
We remain sad about losing our young midfielder Wiseman Meyiwa, who looked so promising. He was involved in a car crash. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope that he will re-join his teammates soon.
About players – unfortunately, we also lost Siphiwe Tshabalala. ‘Shabba’ represented Kaizer Chiefs very well over the years and had an excellent journey at the club. However, when the offer from Turkey came, we felt that we didn’t want to stand in his way. It is a great opportunity for him to get a taste of international football with one of the European leagues.
We also lost Joseph Molangoane, who sustained a serious injury in August and will probably only join us again towards the end the season. We wish him well on his road to full recovery.
Looking to 2019, we welcome Lorenzo Gordinho back after his one-year loan spell at Bloemfontein Celtic. He will come in handy because we are having a few injuries, especially when it comes to defenders. He will have gained a lot of experience during his time in Bloemfontein.
We have reached the play-off round of the CAF Confederation Cup. There is one more round to go to reach the group stage. We hope that we will deliver.
We are very proud of Banyana Banyana’s achievement. Having reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations and finishing second is a major accomplishment. On top of that, they qualified for the 2019 World Cup. Well done ladies!
Bafana Bafana, meanwhile, still have hope to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations. It would be good if we could qualify, irrespective whether we, as South Africa, host the Africa Cup of Nations.
I also want to say a special thanks to our supporters for always being behind the team. We are looking forward at continuing the journey together. We wish our supporters and their families all the best for the New Year. Travel safely wherever you go.
As we enter 2019, we must keep in mind our 49th anniversary, which will be on 7 January. We are looking forward to having a good run leading up to our 50th anniversary in 2020, during which we intend to celebrate our journey in a huge way.
All the best to everyone for 2019.