|The man in charge: Bobby Motaung|
WHILE the world staggers to accept the fact Lionel Messi has failed to score in 362 minutes and four matches for the first time since the middle of 2011, I have news of another goal drought which cannot be ignored. Another slump hard to shrug off, like mighty Barcelona not winning a La Liga game in four.
Let me set it out in numbers: Kaizer Chiefs have not scored in six games. They have played 512 minutes of football without a goal. The AmaKhosi have not WON A GAME since February 20, 52 days ago.
Perhaps, as the reigning champions end a season which started with a massacre, then hope… and finally failure, there will be a late turnaround. On Tuesday night, after three weeks off, they play Mpumalanga Black Aces in a bid to end a sequence which few have witnessed as gold-and-black fans.
Here, without further ado, March backwards with Kaizer Chiefs:
0-0 March 20: Asec Mimosas (a)
0-1 March 15: 0-1 Jomo Cosmos (h)
0-1 March 12: 0-1 Asec Mimosas (h)
0-2 March 9: Platinum Stars (a)
0-2 March 5: Orlando Pirates (a)
So, five matches with no goals. In a single month, Kaizer Chiefs plunged out of the Nedbank Cup against arch-rivals Orlando Pirates, failed dismally in the African Champions League against Ghana's out-of-form Asec Mimosas and defeats against Cosmos and Dikwena ended their PSL title hopes.
It gets worse. The sixth game in the pitiful sequence was the infamous walk-over against Volcan di Moroni from the Comoros. We have never had a clear explanation of what happened over the final weekend in February when the opposition were reportedly seen in Johannesburg but never found their way to Durban.
Did Kaizer Chiefs neglect to tell the islanders they weren’t playing at their usual home ground, the FNB Stadium? Did the Volcanos turn up in Jozi and decide they’re rather enjoy the bright lights than go to the seaside in Durban? We may never know.
But I digress. SIX games no goals. The last goal the AmaKhosi scored was in the 1-1 draw against Polokwane City, the night giant Zimbabwean goalkeeper George Chigovu, since charged with match-fixing, won the Man of the Match award by some distance
Yes, it was February 23 when Kaizer Chiefs last scored a goal of any kind. It came from the head of Mulomowandau Eric “Tower” Mathoho from a Siphiwe Tshabalala corner in the 37th minute. It was a goal which levelled the game which finished 1-1, ending a run of four straight wins for Chiefs.
|END OF THE ROAD: Bobby Motaung would not let|
Baxter sign players at Kaizer Chiefs
Certainly Kulasande Qongqo, who awarded Chiefs to spurious penalties in the Telkom KO final defeat against Mamelodi Sundowns on December 16, and Johannes Moshidi, the linesman during the controversial win over Bidvest Wits in Cape Town on 19 December, were among the victims. Both were banned for six months.
My rudimentary calculations thus suggest Kaizer Chiefs have not scored in 512 minutes of football. They have not won in six games, they are falling fast, as I said they would when they got rid of coach Stuart Baxter, PSL player of the season Tefu Mashamaite and top-scorer Mandla Masango within weeks of becoming record-breaking 69-point champions last season.
In the long break since their last game on March 20, chairman Kaizer Motaung has emerged to say: "Our supporters are spoilt and when you lose one or two games, you are not good enough.”
But of course, this is not “one or two games” it’s a losing sequence going back to February 20 when they defeated SuperSport United 2-1 in Cape Town.
Motaung insists: "There is no pressing the panic button. If you do that it shows you don't know what you are doing. There is no regret about hiring Steve Komphela.
“We can start judging him from next season because he would have had enough time to tweak the team the way he wants it. Obviously we have to replenish the side. We have to bring in new players next season.
"It won't be a wholesale change like we did before Stuart Baxter. But I think we are going to tweak the squad and make sure we get it right.”
Kaizer appears to forget the signing of Siyanda Xulu, Bongani Ndulula, Camaldine Abraw, Daniel Cardoso and Keegan Ritchie after Baxter left. And the re-signing of Itumeleng Khune when all seemed lost. And the later arrival of Ugandan Sula Matovu. Read through those names, all signed by Bobby Motaung. How much impact have they had?
On Tuesday, as they travel to play the side two points behind them, Mpumalanga Black Aces, it might be worth considering how last season's "tweak" went. Yes, Aces, the side who nearly sold their PSL franchise to AmaZulu at the start of the season.
The point is this: No goals in 512 minutes, no wins for 52 days from South Africa’s record-breaking champions. I’d say the millions of glory-hungry AmaKhosi fans have been quite patient. Not with chairman Kaizer but with his son Bobby, who actually runs the club.
Anything less than a rousing win on Tuesday night would be simply unacceptable.