OPINION: It’s eight years and counting for Chiefs’ barren trophy cabinet
The Chiefs head coach also came up with an unconvincing explanation of why Chiefs had celebrated so vigorously on camera, when they were drawn to face Pirates in the Nedbank Cup semifinals.
Arthur Zwane’s talk of progress rings a bit hollow. Picture: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix.
Another season has gone by, and the dust continues to gather in the section of the Kaizer Chiefs trophy cabinet reserved for new silverware.
Saturday’s Nedbank Cup semifinal defeat to Orlando Pirates represented an exit from ‘Last-chance Saloon’ for Arthur Zwane’s men, and leaves Amakhosi without an official Premier Soccer League trophy for eight sorry seasons.
It’s a deeply unflattering statistic for South Africa’s most popular football team, that for all its commercial success off the pitch, continues to show little progress on the field of play.
Zwane’s assertion that Chiefs have done better this season than previous incarnations rings a little hollow, when the Naturena Glamour Boys again have nothing to show for their efforts.
The Chiefs head coach also came up with an unconvincing explanation of why Chiefs had celebrated so vigorously on camera, when they were drawn to face Pirates in the semifinals.
That was a move that was always going to come back to bite them, if they went down to the Buccaneers, as they did at FNB Stadium on Saturday. “No, I don’t think (it was overconfidence),” said Zwane when the question arose after the 2-1 loss in the semifinal.
“The celebration was not about taking Pirates for granted. It was more of, whoever, even if it was another team, we were still going to celebrate.”
I’m afraid I can’t quite buy this. There was an extra zest in Chiefs’ revelry when Pirates came out of the hat, that did smack of a team that had beaten Pirates in two DStv Premiership games this season, and felt they were well-set to do it again.
As it is those celebrations now look just plain silly, and Chiefs are left to contemplate exactly how they are ever going to win another trophy. On the one hand, Mamelodi Sundowns have taken a vice-like grip on the domestic game, particularly in the league, where they have won six consecutive DStv Premiership titles. It is hard to see anyone breaking that run anytime soon.
Yet Chiefs and Pirates should certainly be able to get a little closer on a more regular basis, and the Buccaneers can at least also point to a couple of pieces of domestic knockout silverware over the last few years.
Pirates on the rise?
If Jose Riveiro can win the Nedbank Cup, to go with this season’s MTN8, and qualify Pirates for the Caf Champions League by finishing second, then that has to be regarded as a successful debut season for the Spanish head coach.
Chiefs’ campaign, however, already has to be regarded as a failure, and will be even more so if Amakhosi fail to even make next season’s Caf Confederation Cup.
Zwane can punt progress all he likes, but it is not as if Chiefs have played a scintillating brand of football this season.