Chiefs fans are hurting right now. Their team has not won a trophy in four years, which was only compounded by their Nedbank Cup final defeat at the hands of a National First Division outfit, TS Galaxy.
In the league, the Glamour Boys finished ninth, their worst showing in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) era.
On top of that, not too many fans seem to believe that head coach Ernst Middendorp is the right man to lead the team as, while the calibre of players being signed by the club is also being questioned.
Amongst the fans’ grievances is the belief that Bobby Motaung – the chairman’s son and the club’s Football Manager – is largely responsible for bringing in players who have failed to live up to standards, and for hiring coaches who perhaps lack the star quality such a high-profile job can demand.
Motaung senior has hit back by saying that the assumption that his son has an overriding authority, is incorrect.
“We are all party to failure, we can’t put it on an individual. Even the question of buying players, it’s not Bobby who buys players.
“He is just a messenger‚ he is part of a collective that sits with the technical staff and he is told where to go. He is not the man who decides who to buy.”
Historically, Chiefs have won the most silverware and enjoy by far the biggest support base in South African soccer. That, however, means that fans have been spoilt and that they are expectant.
“Your Liverpool today hasn’t won the league for 30 years but Anfield is always full. That talks to support. We seem to be creating unnecessary high standards. I understand we haven’t won anything for four years, but so be it,” Motaung said.
He does have a valid point in that trophies can’t be guaranteed, and that nearly every club goes through a dry spell. However, the comparison with his own club’s situation to that of Liverpool’s has been construed by Chiefs supporters as being off the mark.
The gist of the argument is that with the players and manager Liverpool currently have, it seems only a matter of time before they achieve trophy success. Chiefs, on the other hand, appear to have fallen further behind their rivals in recent years.
The club’s official social media platforms have also been feeling the heat from frustrated supporters, and recently put out a series of statements to try and calm the storm:
“Amakhosi Family, we want you to know that we are listening to you and continuously show the Chairman (Kaizer Motaung) and our officials your messages. This feedback is not falling on deaf ears. We hear you.
“We will still have to update you in the interim on marketing initiatives, football developments and what is happening here at the Village. We can only update you on changes in football once they are finalised. Please be patient with us until then.
“We need to update and keep you close to us, we need you to understand that our posts are not a way of ignoring you. We have to do our part. That means we are required to keep you informed.”
READ: Chiefs release Ryan Moon
Highlighting perhaps the potential crossroads the club is at, were Motaung’s comments about fans threatening to boycott next season’s opener, the Black Label Cup. Last season’s home games, especially when played at the FNB Stadium, were all too often poorly attended.
“It’s very simple, I understand their logic and sentiments and obviously they have a right to boycott, but those who are genuine supporters will come,” he said.
There has been no indication yet as to Middendorp’s future with the club.
The German did not attend the cup launch earlier this week, which had led to speculation that his days were numbered.
However, it reportedly turned out that the Chiefs and Orlando Pirates assistant coaches had been invited to the launch, but with Rhulani Mokwena not available, Bucs head coach Milutin Sredojevic stepped in to take his place; with Chiefs already having sent Shaun Bartlett to the event.
Bartlett spoke of the need for a fairly large overhaul of the playing squad, saying that ‘probably five, maybe six players’ would be shown the exit door.
Not long after, the club confirmed the departure of striker Ryan Moon. Hendrick Ekstein, Gustavo Paez and Kgotso Malope left the team last month.