‘The team and I, we are still together’: Kaizer Chiefs coach Johnson

Stellenbosch FC's Ismaël Olivier Touré challenges Wandile Duba of Kaizer Chiefs while Ashley du Preez looks on in the DStv Premiership match at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday night.
Stellenbosch FC's Ismaël Olivier Touré challenges Wandile Duba of Kaizer Chiefs while Ashley du Preez looks on in the DStv Premiership match at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday night.
Image: Gallo Images

Cavin Johnson believes he still has the faith of Kaizer Chiefs’ players despite a poor start to 2024 continuing with a 1-0 DStv Premiership home defeat to Stellenbosch FC on Tuesday night where the coach admitted Amakhosi “didn’t have a good game of football”.

Johnson, though, might have compounded speculation all is not well at Naturena — it has not been for almost a decade with Chiefs on the verge of going nine seasons without silverware — with his admission Amakhosi “are not a happy camp at the moment”.

Chiefs' 65-year-old interim coach clarified he was referring to his seventh placed team’s disappointment at their last two results — Sunday’s 0-0 away draw against Cape Town City and the defeat at FNB Stadium to Stellies.

Still, the statement seemed to reveal more for a side that showed positive signs under Johnson at the end of 2023 but has gone three matches without a win — Chiefs lost the Soweto derby 3-2 against Orlando Pirates before the Fifa international date — and has won once in seven league games.

Kaizer Chiefs coach Cavin Johnson’s post-match press conference following his side's 1-0 loss to Stellenbosch FC at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday. - DISKIFANS

Johnson was asked if he believes he is still the right man to try to take Chiefs to a strong end to the season and if he thinks the players still believe in him.

“Always,” he said. “I believe that and I think we are still together and we haven’t given up hope.

“Like we say, you get a sucker punch goal against you and then cannot break them down, which is normal in a football match, it happens.

“Ja, maybe it looks like it’s happening too often to us and we need to find the right player to score the goal and as a group we’re struggling to get that.

“We thought ‘Ash’ [Ashley du Preez] had it and we can’t only rely on Ash — we’ve got to rely on [Pule] Mmodi, ‘Shabba’ [Mduduzi Shabalala] to chip in somewhere.

“But it was not to be tonight [Tuesday] and maybe your question is valid to a certain extent but I can tell you the team and I, we are still together.”

The coach admitted his team were flat against Steve Barker’s buoyant Stellenbosch, who are flying in the Premiership on the back of the confidence gained from winning the Carling Knockout in December.

Devin Titus scored the decisive goal a minute into first half injury time.

“We gave away a goal we could see was coming. We told our players they needed to concentrate in the last minute of the first half. And a lapse of concentration cost us the goal,” Johnson said.

“In the second half, in reality we didn’t create clear-cut opportunities — we moved the ball but made technical errors.

“I look at it and, ja, we didn’t have a good game of football — that’s the bottom line.

“We should have used the ball better, but in saying that you are playing the second placed team and they are not second for nothing.

“They put up a good show against us, they defended the one goal and we were not able to take them down.

“We are not a happy camp at the moment because we wanted to make sure we got the three points.”

Asked to clarify why Chiefs are an unhappy camp, Johnson said: “I thought we were not on top of our game, did not put the ball in the back of the net.

“And for that reason I think the players are not happy with themselves now — because of the performances.”

Chiefs have an opportunity to get back on track in their league clash against Chippa United at Buffalo City Stadium in East London on Saturday (3pm).


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