It’s just over two months since Kaizer Chiefs’ pre-season hype and expectations were short down to reality with a 4-0 thumping at the hands of Mamelodi Sundowns in mid-August.
Amakhosi under the leadership of coach Arthur Zwane, with their rejuvenated squad and young blood were shown up in their first big clash of the new season.
They were outclassed in every department by the Brazilians on the day, all of their faults laid bare, however, the biggest worry following that defeat was the tactical ignorance by Zwane, who led his wet behind the ears group to an onslaught trying to take on Sundowns.
Zwane’s starting 11 and strategy against arch rivals Orlando Pirates in the recent Soweto Derby. exhibited signs of a good lesson learnt and he tucked away his usual attempts at dominating ball possession in relation to creating goal scoring chances.
Chiefs ended the first half of action against Pirates with a 44% possession stat, but created the better chances of the two teams and arguably should’ve gone in the halftime break with a two goal buffer.
Ashley Du Preez was key in Zwane’s plan to exploit and expose Pirates’ space negligence and nonexistent pace on the counter attack, but was once again guilty of spurning two one-on-one situations with Siyabonga Mpontshane in the Pirates goal.
The 49-year-old mentor, speaking after the match admitted to making a conscious decision to approach this match differently than they ordinary would plan for others, which is a great tribute to his tactical adaptation.
“Tactically I think we planned very well and the guys went in there and executed the plan. We always knew that as long as they play a high line then we’re gonna catch them at some point,” Zwane said…
A key element to Chiefs and Zwane’s success moving forward will be his willingness to understand the group of players he has at his disposal, in comparison to the opposition.
The Naturena-based club in their core have always been known to be a club of entertainers, but not only that but a club that collects trophies on a consistent basis with style. That is the kind of pressure that tends to influence Zwane’s approach to high profile fixtures.
The Glamour Boys will have an opportunity to experiment more when they next take to the field as they feature in the upcoming Black Label Cup on the 12th of November, with their first fixture against Pirates again.