Johnson believes Kaizer Chiefs’ youth products can step up to the plate

01 March 2024 - 10:24
By Sazi Hadebe
Interim coach Cavin Johnson during their media day and training session at the Kaizer Chiefs Village in Naturena on Thursday.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix Interim coach Cavin Johnson during their media day and training session at the Kaizer Chiefs Village in Naturena on Thursday.

Kaizer Chiefs coach Cavin Johnson has faith the present generation have the potential to reverse the team’s nine-year trophy drought, specially if some of the players promoted from the club’s youth structures begin to realise their potential.

Chiefs have a chance to redeem themselves from Sunday’s embarrassing Nedbank Cup last 32 defeat to first division Milford in their next DStv Premiership match when they host Moroka Swallows at FNB Stadium on Saturday (5.45pm).

The Nedbank exit means Amakhosi, battling in sixth pace in the league, will go without silverware for a staggering ninth season in succession in 2023-24.

A belief has been the club has failed to replace the last generation that produced the trophies — league and cup doubles under Stuart Baxter in 2014-15. There is a notion that perhaps the present players produced by the club’s development are not good enough.

Johnson remains positive and said players coming through the youth structures “need to show themselves a little bit better”. 

“It's not that we don't believe in them but , nine years is a long time [without winning a trophy]. For them to maintain [the culture of the club], it's a difficult task.

“But I do believe the ones we have are more than capable doing something. We only need that run of the luck and I always say 'we will rise, we will rise’.”

The huge expectations from going nine seasons without winning a trophy must be weighing heavily on Chiefs’ players but Johnson believes that they are capable of understanding what is at stake. 

“I think we have a lot of other things intact as far this generation is concerned,” he said.

“The biggest thing each generation at Kaizer Chiefs did before the nine years was that there was something they did differently as a generation.

“The generations have changed over the years and we have to make sure we make this generation realise how good they are and what it means to wear a Kaizer Chiefs jersey. We're busy with that and making sure they appreciate wearing the jersey and making sure we rise. ”

One of the young players giving Johnson this optimism is Mfundo Vilakazi, the attacking midfielder who was promoted to the senior team in January.

“He is a level-headed young man for an 18-year-old. He's quite grounded and I think it's because of where he comes from and what he's seen in other players within the team.

“Let's pray that as long as I'm here he's able to keep his feet on the ground and is able to display what people want to see. [That is to display] the best, and that is football, and not Louis Vuitton and things like that.”