Chiefs legend Pollen Ndlanya stunned by club's poor domestic performance

27 May 2021 - 14:42
By Marc Strydom
Pollen Ndlanya: 'I guess the consistency kills them. In the Caf Chiefs are performing well but domestically it’s something else.'
Image: Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images Pollen Ndlanya: 'I guess the consistency kills them. In the Caf Chiefs are performing well but domestically it’s something else.'

Former Kaizer Chiefs star Pollen Ndlanya believes the club’s situation — mathematically it's not clear of the relegation playoffs with two games to go in the DStv Premiership — comes down to collective responsibility at the club.

The playoffs are only a mathematical possibility for 11th-placed Chiefs (30 points from 28 games). It will take 15th-placed Chippa United (25 from 28) winning twice and Amakhosi losing twice — which given the Soweto giants’ form is not impossible — plus a few other sides from 12th to 14th also winning or drawing for it to happen.

Chiefs‚ though‚ are firmly on course‚ after their 2-1 defeat to last-placed Black Leopards in Thohoyandou on Wednesday‚ of matching or ending lower than their worst two finishes of ninth.

“A team like Kaizer Chiefs‚ a big team‚ 11th at this stage is not healthy for their reputation‚” Ndlanya said. “It’s not good. But it does happen all over the world in fact.

“I guess the consistency kills them. In the Caf they are performing well‚ but domestically it’s something else.”

An aspect of Chiefs’ lack of consistency domestically — as they have been the shock entrants into the 2020-21 Caf Champions League semifinals — has been losing matches to relegation-threatened opponents.

Before Leopards‚ in late April and early May Amakhosi lost to two teams occupying 15th place at the time in the space of a week‚ 1-0 against Chippa United and 2-1 against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.

Playing teams in relegation danger is never easy‚ as there is no better motivator than desperation. Chiefs’ players‚ though‚ should also have hunger‚ given they are playing to avoid a great club’s worst finish.

Ndlanya feels when a team struggles the responsibility is collective‚ as the management and technical staff are the ones who should instil confidence in the players.

“You start from the management‚ and go down to the technical team and also the players‚” he said. “When a team does well it’s collective. But if the team does badly‚ it also is.

“In this situation‚ yes‚ the team relies on the players. But it’s also about that influence in terms of encouraging the team‚ and the management and coach also need to put in that effort.”

Ndlanya feels‚ more than being affected by this season’s transfer ban over an illegal signing of Madagascan player Dax‚ that Hunt has simply struggled to implement his philosophy on his players.

“The same squad finished second last season‚” the ex-Bafana Bafana and 1990s Chiefs striker said. “It is so unfortunate that Gavin came in with that situation [of a transfer ban]. But at the same time a new coach has to apply his tactics‚ try to convince and get each player to understand how the team should be playing.

“But it doesn’t take five minutes. It can take a year or two years. Pep Guardiola‚ to assemble that Manchester City team that is going to win the Champions League‚ he struggled before.”

Chiefs‚ having won twice in 16 league and cup matches‚ are left probably needing to beat third-placed Golden Arrows at FNB Stadium on Wednesday and ninth-placed TS Galaxy at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday June 5 to reach the top eight.