Arthur Zwane, a club legend, has embodied Amakhosi’s culture and history.
SOME players are lucky, and some are just blessed.
It is not every day that every player enjoys the splendour of being coached by the same person in two different ranks: academy and senior structures. But well, one can only hope that Njabulo Blom, Happy Mashiane, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo et al are counting their blessings.
It’s an honour to play for Kaizer Chiefs. This is a club that has preserved its culture and history since their establishment in 1970. That’s why those who’ve been fortunate to don their famous gold and back jersey are bemused by their recent decline.
Chiefs are the most successful club in local football with 93 trophies, official and unofficial. But they are on the brink of a sixth successive season without silverware. Unless, of course, they get a result against Horoya AC in the final game of the CAF Champions League’s group stage on Saturday.
Despite the uncertainty that hangs over their silverware aspirations, their inability to sign players has been a silver lining for their youth products. Blom, Mashiane and Ngcobo have been some of the key pillars that have ensured the ship hasn’t sunk to the doldrums of relegation.
The three players were promoted to the senior team in the last four seasons. But it’s hard to imagine whether they’d have put pen to paper were it not for the guidance and mentorship of Arthur Zwane at a tender stage.
Zwane, a club legend, has embodied Amakhosi’s culture and history. After having forged a relationship with him down in the reserve league, his vision of planting the club’s values and missions to his young guns, instead of targeting results, was mind blowing.
That was a process, of course, meaning that Zwane and his troops had to endure watching Golden Arrows, Mamelodi Sundowns and Bloemfontein Celtic claim the reserve league’s royalties. But it is not that he was fazed. As long as his guns played the Chiefs way, he was content.
And, boy, did they! Amakhosi triumphed in style over Sundowns in the Diski Shield final three seasons ago, sending a footballing lesson not only to their peers but to the senior team who sat in awe in the stands after yet another trophyless season.
Not much has changed for Chiefs who are still without silverware, apart from Zwane’s elevation to the senior team as an assistant coach to Gavin Hunt this season. Zwane, nicknamed “10111” returned to the Chiefs bench at a time when his proteges couldn’t have needed him more.
Despite the time of adversities for players and clubs during the Covid-19 pandemic, Chiefs’ young troops – notably Ngcobo, Mashiane and Blom – have held their own. And much of the credit should go to the astute Zwane who’s been on their side since day one.