"They did well. It’s just that when you play against a team like Sundowns, you make one mistake and they punish you"
KAIZER Chiefs’ caretaker coach Patrick Mabedi has a message for the club’s supporters who watched their loss to a somewhat second string Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday and lost faith.
An army of Amakhosi fans left FNB Stadium after Themba Zwane’s goal in optional time gave the Brazilians a 2-0 lead in the Shell Helix Ultra Cup. Those fans missed out on Bernard Parker’s consolation goal that made the final score respectable at 2-1. The disappointment wasn’t necessarily about that specific performance, but it’s a build-up of three trophy-less seasons – an anomaly for a club that’s synonymous with success.
“We’re in a process of pre-season. This game showed us what we need to do and what we need to work on,” Mabedi (pictured) said. “Sometimes, in football, you mustn’t take things at face value. It’s good to have hiccups at the beginning so that you work on them early because you’re in a mission. Games like this will give us opportunities as coaches to learn, pick up the mistakes and then work on them.
“I need to give credit to the players. They did well. It’s just that when you play against a team like Sundowns, you make one mistake and they punish you. We’re looking forward to be better in the upcoming season.”
Giovanni Solinas will be in charge of that upcoming season. The Italian’s work permit should be sorted this week having missed the opportunity to sit on the bench in the Shell Helix Ultra Cup and the Maize Cup. Mabedi will then return to his post of assistant coach, the role he played last season under Steve Komphela before being promoted to lead the side in the interim after Komphela’s resignation in April.
Mabedi saw first-hand how Chiefs lost steam towards the last stretch of the league race which saw the Soweto giant finish behind Mamelodi Sundowns and their rivals Orlando Pirates. The silver-lining is that Amakhosi qualified for continental football, they will feature in the Caf Confederation Cup later this year.
Chiefs settled for third place because they didn’t take matches by the scruff of the neck last season nor were they potent enough upfront to challenge Pirates and Sundowns. Their strong defence held the team together.
But now, in Khama Billiat they have a player who can make something out of nothing with a moment of brilliance.
The club’s attack is also shaping up well with Leonardo Castro leading it while there is also Ryan Moon, Dumisani Zuma, Kabelo Mahlasela and Siphelele Ntshangase among others. The problem has been that there’s not enough supply from midfield to the attack which means that the playmakers must step up. But Chiefs will not be making any drastic signings from now until the start of the season.