Kaizer Motaung Junior: Chiefs eyeing Champions League final as an opportunity to broaden its horizons
Kaizer Chiefs’ new sporting director Kaizer Motaung Junior has said that the Caf Champions League final in Morocco can be a beginning for the club in broadening its horizons seeking international and domestic success.
Chiefs‚ the shock package of the 2020-21 Champions League‚ meet Al Ahly in the final at Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca on Saturday.
Amakhosi‚ who have notoriously under-performed in continental competition after their 2001 African Cup Winners’ Cup success‚ had never reached the group stage of the Champions League.
Motaung Junior said as Chiefs departed OR Tambo International Airport on Wednesday that Saturday’s final can change the club’s approach to continental football.
“Football-wise this is a very important time for us because we’re looking to evolve our way of playing. And to do that you have to be the best in your country‚ on the continent‚ and looking to challenge Europe and South America and the other areas in the Club World Cup‚” Chiefs’ new sporting director said.
“So it goes a long way in trying to develop the kind of football philosophy that you want to bring to the table to create sustainaibility‚ to create long-term success.
“In the Champions League we stand with the giants who have gone before us. And with all that has been achieved with this great institution no Khosi player has ever put their foot in a Champions League final.
“And I think that’s a unique opportunity for everyone. But at the same time it comes with great responsibility.
“The importance of football in this country and how it unifies people plays a vital role because we know we are not just representing ourselves‚ but the entire country.”
Big three rivals Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns in the past decade have aimed for success beyond SA borders‚ building squads for that purpose. Sundowns in particular‚ have shown that when they fall short in Africa they achieve domestically as a result of the strength of the team created through consistently performing at a higher level.
Chiefs have not always shown the same ambition‚ and the result has been six years without a trophy.
Motaung Junior‚ asked about Chiefs’ plans subsequent to Saturday’s final‚ appeared to suggest an understanding of that dynamic.
“The plans after this are to put together strategies and programmes that are going to ensure that we feature in the Champions League‚ and achieve on a global scale‚” he said.
“Once you’ve tasted this bit of success even to reach the final it shows that you have to align your priorities differently and your objectives are going to change.
“For us it’s definitely going to be about sitting down and strategising on how we put together our programmes so that we can create sustainable appearances in the Champions League and Club World Cup.
“It’s about the football objectives but at the same time the business objectives around that to make that possible.
“This is not the end – whatever the result is on the weekend. I think this is definitely a beginning as to what the future has to hold.”
Saturday’s winners compete in the Fifa Club World Cup in Japan in December.