‘Every child would want to be part of Kaizer Chiefs’ – Zwane

The tactician has defended the club and players from criticism that has come because of underwhelming performances in the campaign

Despite the difficulties they have faced, Kaizer Chiefs interim head coach Arthur Zwane believes the Premier Soccer League club remains every child’s dream to play for.

A 3-2 win over Golden Arrows on Wednesday helped Amakhosi pick up the points that returned them to a position of potentially finishing in the top-eight and Zwane, who alongside Dillon Sheppard, was appointed to take charge of the side after Gavin Hunt’s dismissal, said the club remains one with a winning culture.

“A team of Kaizer Chiefs’ calibre is a team that has a winning culture, a team that each and every child out there would want to be a part of. I’m so privileged to be part and parcel of this family,” Zwane told Sowetan Live.

“When I decided to quit as one of the players, I became an assistant coach for about a season.”

“Then I was redeployed to development. It was very important for me to know how the younger ones think at that age. How do you groom them and help them to develop to be big players, to play for a team of Kaizer Chiefs’ calibre with so much pressure? This is one season that did not start very well. From the beginning, the results were not forthcoming.”

The Amakhosi legend defended his players from criticism of underperformance, saying he is sure no player will always want to perform badly whenever he steps onto the pitch.

“But we understand because it’s one of those things. Maybe it’s a phase because sometimes this kind of thing happens to the best teams in the world,” said the tactician.

“I think it was our turn as a team to get the desired results. We are under pressure as technical staff and players. But we are always positive, knowing that at some stage things would change for the better. These are professionals, these are players who’ve been trying their level best, trying to showcase their talent.

“Things just haven’t been going well for us. I believe that there is no player who will go onto the field of play and not want to perform.

“We’ve had a lot of challenges this season, including injuries, a lot of travel, and back-to-back games. It was always going to be difficult for us to get it right at some point.  There’s no player who wants to do badly, especially at a club like Chiefs. Unfortunately, this has been a season that has been very tough for us.”

Lebo Manyama, who netted a hat-trick against Golden Arrows, was singled out by Zwane for praise. During the midweek clash, the South African inspired Kaizer Chiefs to register a hard-fought win by scoring goals in either half.

“A player like Lebo [Lebogang] Manyama, he’s got so much quality. He’s one player who you know can add value to the team, encourage others to grind results and also perform well given the opportunity,” concluded Zwane.

The Naturena club will conclude the season’s duties with a game against TS Galaxy on Saturday.

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