Home Sport Chiefs coaches need time to exorcise ’fear factor’

Chiefs coaches need time to exorcise ’fear factor’

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Kaizer Chiefs caretaker coach Arthur Zwane suggested Amakhosi may have to overcome the fear of failure following their defeat to Stellenbosch FC.

Kaizer Chiefs forward Khama Billiat tries to control the ball in their match against Stellenbosch FC. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

THE POST-match comments by Arthur Zwane in the wake of Kaizer Chiefs’ 1-0 defeat at the hands of the enterprising Stellenbosch FC in the Winelands on Saturday suggests the players were overcome by the fear of failure.

Zwane and Dillon Sheppard have been roped in as interim co-coaches after head coach Stuart Baxter was sacked a few days ago. After the match, Zwane said the players were tentative in their approach and it appeared “the boys are afraid of playing” their natural games.

This might have been a hangover of the Baxter era when the players may have been over-coached. The team would have been forced to stay with the pre-decided game plan rather than play what was in front of them.

Zwane and Sheppard decided on an untried combination after Happy Mashiane was offered a rare start and Dumisani Zuma came off the bench to play for the first time in months. Kgaogelo Sekgota also played off the bench after he was largely ignored during Baxter’s reign.

As it turned out, the substitutes Zuma and Sekgota were Chiefs’ best players and they force their way into the run-on XI for the next match on Wednesday against Golden Arrows.

“We were forced to make changes (substitutions) that would take the game to them,” said Zwane afterwards. “We had to take ‘Rama’ (Ramahlwe Mphahlele) out and bring on (Kearyn) Baccus to give us an advantage of going forward.

“Unfortunately, I think now the boys are afraid of playing.

“We’re encouraging them to play. Look, it’s not going to change overnight. It’s going to take some time, but I think the last 20 minutes, if not 25, we just needed that cutting-edge touch inside the penalty box.

“There were so many promising aspects. The movement off the ball was getting there. We’ll keep on encouraging them to keep on playing the way we want them to play. They need to feel free and express themselves and when the time is right, they will start banging in goals.”

Zwane said his players were alerted to the danger Stellenbosch posed when counter-attacking.

“We conceded from a counter-attack and in our interview (before the match), I mentioned that that’s their strength,” said Zwane. “They always want to play in the space behind (the opposition defence).

“I don’t think we were set for a counter-attack. We reminded the guys, that should they clear the ball in the right areas, they could use their explosive speed. They have very good players going forward.

Chiefs are preparing for Wednesday’s match against Golden Arrows and Zwane will urge the players to play with flair and confidence.

“Things are not going to change overnight,” said Zwane. “It is going to take some time, but we need to play with flair, confidence and a degree of arrogance.

“We need to show that we’re Kaizer Chiefs. We’re playing on Wednesday, we have only Monday to prepare, so the games are coming thick and fast, but I think we’ll manage the boys and make sure they are ready for the next one.”

The victorious Stellenbosch coach Steve Barker said the victory was achieved on the back of the club’s successful youth policy.

“It was tough since we had Jayden Adams and Ibrahim Jabaar who are still young 19 and 20-year-olds,” said Barker. “Sibongiseni Mthethwa who was still playing NFD this season and we only got him in January.

“What an evening! What a night here in Stellenbosch. I think the players can be proud of what they have done this evening.

“The commitment, the work ethic, the game plan, the execution was superb. We had opportunities to make it 2-0, 3-0, and kill the game off. We did not so we had to hold out a bit.

“We were proud to be able to beat a team like Chiefs at home in front of the supporters. I said before the game this was a house (the Danie Craven Stadium), it is now a home.

“This is our home. Our fans will be here to support us. I can only congratulate the players for a fantastic performance.”

Stellenbosch will have just over a week’s break before heading off to the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium for a showdown with hosts SuperSport United on Tuesday, May 3.

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