Kaizer Chiefs boss Kaizer Motaung has broken his silence and says his club remains in a strong position to challenge for the league title this season.
It seems Chiefs’ victories over Polokwane City (3-2) and Golden Arrows (2-0) just before Christmas — the two wins halted a poor run of eight matches without a victory — have restored the faith in Naturena and Motaung believes the club can reclaim a league title they last won in May 2015.
“We finished the 2015/16 league season on a low after going through changes in key areas of the team‚” Motaung told the club’s website.
‘‘We moved on though‚ and we are still going through a phase of getting the team back to winning consistently. We are in a good position this season to fight for the 2016/17 league title.
“I wish to encourage the team to keep working hard as they showed their potential and will to win the last two games of the year. I think we stand a chance to reclaim the league honours‚ given our current position in the league.”
Motaung remained silent when irate Chiefs fans bayed for coach Steve Komphela’s blood towards the end of last year‚ chanting: “Steve must go‚ Steve must go‚” whenever the team played.
The incensed supporters had protested against Komphela’s regime and demanded the coach’s head on a platter.
But Motaung did not buckle under the pressure to fire the beleaguered former Bafana Bafana captain and stuck with him.
The skeptics will no doubt have a more cynical view of the way the remainder of the PSL season could play out as the jury is still out on whether Komphela has finally managed to turn things around.
Chiefs have struggled to maintain consistency and the biggest challenge he now faces is whether he will be able to pick up where the club left off last year.
The PSL suspended fixtures to accommodate the African Nations Cup in Gabon — Bafana Bafana did not qualify for the event but the league still decided to halt the programme — and the league will only resume on February 7.
The fourth-placed Chiefs — who are a point behind leaders SuperSport United — play their first match of 2017 on February 7 when they host Free State Stars at Soccer City.
But Motaung is seemingly not worried and said there is still a lot of football to be played.
“We are looking forward to the final stretch of the league marathon‚” Motaung said.
“We have been encouraged by the support at our matches and I would like to thank our supporters for their continued faith in this colossal brand.
‘‘The league is a marathon and we must not tire until the final whistle at the end of the season.”
Motaung’s vote of confidence will have come as music to Komphela’s ears as he was often asked towards the end of the year if he still had his boss’ confidence.
“Our chairman is always the first to arrive at the village [Chiefs’ Naturena headquarters in the south of Johannesburg] and sometimes he is the last to leave‚” Komphela said last month.
“After the first training‚ if there are two sessions in between‚ when you go for lunch the chairman is there.
“He is always with you and he is one gentleman … sometimes [when the team is under pressure and not winning] you feel like: ‘Chairman‚ please say something.’ But he will engage with you in a manner that makes you feel: ‘Goodness me‚ is there no other thing [he wants to say] or is there no panic?’
“Never‚ no panic.”