Kaizer Chiefs Football Club have embraced the four-page memorandum they received from a small group of supporters who marched to the club’s headquarters last month after the senior team’s declining outing in the last six seasons.
On Monday, June 7, Chiefs took to their socials to respond to the supporters’ grievances through a 12-point report. Part and parcel of the response was the club assurance that they’ll assemble an equipped technical team which will yield results.
Already the winds of change have been blowing at Chiefs ahead of the new season after the club decided to part ways with highly-rated coach Gavin Hunt before the end of the season after he was in charge of the team for just nine months.
Hunt arrived at Chiefs with a lofty billing after a successful stint at his previous gigs, notably SuperSport United and Bidvest Wits. But he failed to replicate that form at Chiefs after a turbulent outing in the domestic campaign last season.
In order to ensure there’s a balance between the senior team and the development structures, Chiefs have since appointed Molefi Ntseki as the Head of Technical and Youth development Academy, while he’ll also be in charge of the scouting processes.
“We will continue to work to secure quality players and build depth. We also commit to continue with our successful programme of promoting talent from within our Youth Development structures, mentored by the experienced players,” the club said.
Chiefs’ domestic campaign may have been nothing short of a disappointment, despite their eighth-place finish on the last day of the season. But they’ve punched above their weight in the Champions League as they reached their first ever semifinal in the competition.
Chiefs will clash with Wydad Casablanca in back-to-back-matches later this month. Should they win the tie, they’ll only be a match away from their first continental crown – which has only been claimed by rivals Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates, locally.
With Chiefs one of the few resourced top-flight teams in the country, there’ve been obligations from their supporters to run a successful youth academy. Over the years, they’ve done a sterling job, with club legend Arthur Zwane producing quality players for the senior team.
“In the recent quarterfinal of the Caf Champions League, we had no less than five players who come from our development structures in the team. The Diski Challenge remains one of the most important sources for recruiting players for our own first team,” the club noted.
While Chiefs have had a decent outing in the reserve league after losing in the semifinal of the competition, there’ve been an outcry from the supporters who believed the club should consider investing in women’s football, given the brand and resources.
In the second season of the Hollywoodbets Super League, there are only two top-flight teams who have a Ladies’ team: Sundowns and Celtic. The latter continues to endorse women’s football, despite their well-documented financial difficulties in the last few seasons.
“Women’s football is most certainly part of the club strategy. There are many building blocks that need to be established to ensure that there is a solid basis to support this initiative,” the club said, adding that they are already working alongside Caf to develop women’s football.
The supporters have bemoaned that the club have moved away from making football their primary focus as they appear to prioritise departments such as Marketing. But Chiefs responded that they aim to maintain “a high level of professionalism across the board”.
After the club’s declining outing in the last six, most of the supporters reckoned there should be more legends and former players who are infused in the structures as they’ll ensure that the winning and playing culture of the team is perveserved and embraced, now and in the future.
“Our legends and past players command the greatest of respect and are close to our hearts. We continue to enhance our interaction with them. We actively document their stories and have engaged them as ambassadors,” the club explained in their response.
In conclusion, though, Chiefs expressed that “your support and feedback are invaluable to the club, it is in keeping with our ethos and aspirations. We encourage you to ask the tough questions, keep the passion alive and remain at the centre of the heart and soul of Kaizer Chiefs.”
They added: “As a top club with a proud and glorious history, we recognize our responsibility to live up to the great traditions and values that have been created over the last 51 years. We remain mindful of who we are and look forward to creating a new history of success.”