Zwane: ‘Kaizer Chiefs are a team every child would want to be a part of’
Arthur Zwane spoke with a passion that has perhaps been lacking around Kaizer Chiefs’ first team in 2020-21 after winning his first game as a head coach to bring Amakhosi back into the DStv Premiership top eight equation.
Zwane and fellow assistant Dillon Sheppard are Chiefs’ caretaker coaches following the dismissal on Friday of Gavin Hunt as head coach.
They oversaw a fighting 3-2 victory against Lamontville Golden Arrows at FNB Stadium on Wednesday that saw Chiefs, who previously won twice in 16 matches, jump from 11th to ninth place. The Naturena club (33 points, -4 goal difference) can end eighth, and avoid matching their worst finish of ninth if they beat current eighth-placed side TS Galaxy (36, -4) at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.
“A team of Kaizer Chiefs’ calibre is a team that has a winning culture, a team that each and every child out there would want to be a part of. I’m so privileged to be part and parcel of this family,” Zwane said of coaching the club he served with distinction as a stylish right-winger.
“When I decided to quit as one of the players I became an assistant coach for about a season.
“Then I was redeployed to development. It was very important for me to know how the younger ones think at that age. How do you groom them and help them to develop to be big players, to play for a team of Kaizer Chiefs’ calibre with so much pressure?
“This is one season that did not start very well. From the beginning the results were not forthcoming.
“But we understand because it’s one of those things. Maybe it’s a phase because sometimes this kind of thing happens to the best teams in the world.
“I think it was our turn as a team to get the desired results. We are under pressure as technical staff and players. But we are always positive, knowing that at some stage things would change for the better.”
Zwane said he did not believe players were performing against Arrows to audition to keep their contracts in 2021-22.
“These are professionals, these are players who’ve been trying their level best, trying to showcase their talent,” the coach said.
“Things just haven’t been going well for us. I believe that there is no player who will go into the field of play and not want to perform.
“This is one season where we had a lot of challenges — injuries and we’ve been travelling a lot, and games back-to-back. It was always going to be difficult for us to get it right at some point.
“A player like Lebo [Lebogang Manyama], he’s got so much quality. He’s one player who you know can add value to the team, encourage others to grind results and also perform well given the opportunity.
“There’s no player who wants to do badly, especially at a club like Chiefs. Unfortunately this has been the season that has been very tough for us.”
Manyama scored a hat-trick, his goals coming in the 31st, 73rd and 79th minutes. Arrows’ goals came from Michael Gumede (21st) and an own goal by Erick Mathoho (62nd).