Is Chiefs' football identity botched?


Plenty of criticism has been aimed at Kaizer Chiefs and coach Ernst Middendorp this season over their current style of football, and a reason may have now been identified.

Amakhosi may be leading the Absa Premiership log standings, albeit with a slender lead over second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns, but fans have been far from impressed with the team's style of football.

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Despite their massive improvement from finishing in ninth-place last season to now being in the running for the league championship, Middendorp has been unable to win over the backing of the masses.

Chiefs defender Daniel Cardoso earlier this season admitted during a media day in Naturena that their approach in matches is not the club's preference while acknowledging that fans are not appreciative thereof.

“It’s something that we’ve done a lot this season too – playing that route-one, which is not our [ideal] playing style and a lot of people are starting to get upset about it, saying we’re just kicking the ball up," said Cardoso.

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Though speaking in general, Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane explained the value of clubs having to find a coach suited to its own identity, more than one who will bring temporary success or partial fulfilment.

"That is why I always say, the team must find their coach, not through CVs coming in and we scrutinise the CVs," Mosimane explained in a recent interview with Kaya FM.

"Then you say, 'We've got 10 CVs.' Okay, if they [all applicants] have the same culture or way of playing then it's fine, but 10 CVs with one playing long balls to head the ball and score; the other one [playing a different style].

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"That's when you start hearing people say, 'Ah, but our team never played like this, our team used to play like [that].' Because you've got a different culture, and it's not that the coach is bad or he is not good. The coach is still good but he's playing a different way.

"If you want a philosophy, identity and a culture, don't take CVs of people who are applying. Take the CVs of people that you think can stay with your culture. I always say, the team must find their coach, not applications."

This perhaps speaks to the shortcuts Chiefs took two years ago when they took a gamble on former Free State Stars coach Giovanni Solinas following a supposedly lengthy vetting process that saw the club ultimately miss out on their rumoured target Patrice Carteron, who instead joined Al Ahly.

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Middendorp was then roped in following the sacking of Solinas after just four months, but this too was seen as a quick-fix appointment, hence the supporters have since turned against the German despite the significant progress the club has made this season.

Some who have been following The Glamour Boys for more than 20 years may argue that The Glamour Boys have long since lost their identity, with many different coaches having each brought their own, unique playing philosophies.