Kaizer Chiefs Haaland

Kaizer Chiefs Naturena Village in all its glory. Image: Ernest Makhaya

Kaizer Chiefs: Amazing facilities, not such amazing players

Kaizer Chiefs need to build a squad accurately reflecting their stature within African football, but there are some promising signs at Naturena.

Kaizer Chiefs Haaland

Kaizer Chiefs Naturena Village in all its glory. Image: Ernest Makhaya

Sometimes the cold, hard truth hurts. Kaizer Chiefs are a sleeping giant of African football. Their world-class facilities at Naturena should serve as an incubator for trophies, good times and local domination. It’s not panning out that way, yet, but it can still.

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Naturena is undeniably a huge asset

The world-class Naturena Village is a venue befitting of champion football. It’s the perfect infrastructure in which young talents can thrive and do their thing. Right now, however, Amakhosi’s major issue is an ageing squad on unsustainable wages.

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Today’s training session at Naturena. Image: Ernest Makhaya

Trophy drought is a serious problem

Amakhosi’s last taste of silverware was their PSL title win in 2015. Fans don’t need to be reminded of how poor that is when read in the cold light of day. Arthur Zwane is the man who gets a lot of stick in this regard, but the buck should also stop at the players as well as executives at boardroom level. Not just the manager. The club is going to stick with Zwane, so they need to put the correct puzzle pieces in place for him to do his work.

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Kaizer Chiefs
Kaizer Motaung Jr has plenty to ponder. Image: © Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix.

Encouraging results and overall signs in 2023

The Glamour Boys have won four consecutive matches leading up the latest international break, and are still in the hunt for a top two finish in the PSL. They could also still end the 2022-23 campaign with a trophy, in the shape of the Nedbank Cup.

Letst we forget the emerging talents of Mduduzi Shabalala, a player who will surely wear a Bafana Bafana jersey before long. 19-year-old Mdu is currently with the U23s. Christian Saile is also just 23, and 20-year-old Samkelo Zwane will become a fixture in the Chiefs midfield given time. Already, the basis of a decent spine is there. Defences win championships though, and the next goal will be to upgrade in the goalkeeping and central defensive departments.

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Mduduzi Shabalala is one of the finest prospects to come out of Naturena in some time. Image: @kaizerchiefs / Twitter.

The Kaizer Chiefs rebuild

Trimming the wage bill will be a huge goal for the top brass at Kaizer Chiefs. Plenty of players over the age of 30 have seen better days, and no longer warrant the massive salaries they’re collecting. It may sound harsh, but these are the facts. Khama Billiat, Keagan Dolly and others need to be replaced by younger, hungrier counterparts.

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It’s not all doom and gloom if you’re a Kaizer Chiefs fan. Nedbank Cup glory this season would be nice but the bigger, long-term picture is of far greater importance. South African football needs a top-quality Chiefs team.

Hit up James Freemantle for more insights, analysis and love for the beautiful game, and more articles just like this one.

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