Luke Fleurs ‘would have been somebody in Chiefs' defence in the future’: Johnson

08 April 2024 - 11:02
By Marc Strydom
Luke Fleurs before Kaizer Chiefs' DStv Premiership match against Golden Arrows at FNB Stadium on March 5.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images Luke Fleurs before Kaizer Chiefs' DStv Premiership match against Golden Arrows at FNB Stadium on March 5.

Kaizer Chiefs interim coach Cavin Johnson says Luke Fleurs would have been “somebody in Chiefs' defence in the future”.

Johnson said the squad had a lot to deal with last week with the news of Fleurs’s murder in a hijacking in Johannesburg on Wednesday

The coach was asked after Amakhosi sagged to a second DStv Premiership defeat in succession against Chippa United (2-0) in East London on Saturday how his squad coped with the devastating news.

“The mood has been up and down for the past few days,” Johnson said.

“In one moment you find out one of your players, one of my children, is gone; in the next you have to say your condolences to the family and in the next you’ve got to come to the players and discuss what their feelings are.

“So it’s up and down. Yesterday, [on Friday] before we came here, we had to spend time with the family and talk to them. We did that to clear the air.

“In saying that, the players did look like they came through that. But I’m not a psychologist.

“From a football perspective I can only say today’s performance [against Chippa] and the effort was what Luke would have liked it to be.”

Chiefs created 18 chances but were let down by finishing against Chippa.

Fleurs, a South Africa U-17 and U-23 international who represented the country for David Notoane’s Olympic team that took part in the Covid-19-delayed 2020 Tokyo Games in 2021, joined Chiefs in October after being released by SuperSport United in September.

The 24-year-old had not played for Amakhosi but was nearing a debut.

Johnson was asked how he will remember Fleurs.

“Luke and myself were together for the same amount of time at Kaizer Chiefs. When I became the head coach he became my Chiefs player.

“I knew him from the Olympics and when I met him [at Chiefs] and saw what type of player he was, he was a very good player.

“He was waiting in the back to play his first game and he didn’t have the time. But I appreciate the time we spent together on the training field and in camp. What a nice person, what a nice player.

“And again, I want to say from the club and from myself, my biggest condolences to the family. And to the football fraternity, we lost a player who would have been somebody in Kaizer Chiefs' defence in the future.”

Chiefs are out of the Nedbank Cup so are not involved in this week's quarterfinals. Their next match is against Richards Bay FC at King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban on April 20.