It has been tough for Kaizer Chiefs with a series of poor results coming thick and fast for the PSL and Nedbank Cup defending champions.
Despite winning all pre-season trophies on offer, AmaKhosi have gone to win only two of their opening five games in all competitions. It seemed as if Chiefs were winning everything this year.
Then it suddenly changed with the loss to arch-rivals Orlando Pirates in the MTN 8, and since then AmaKhosi have not recovered. Is it a minor setback or a sign of the tables being reversed on them?
It could be minor as one must remember these were tough games with two derbies and high-flying SuperSport United. It's still too early to generalise, but lets see how AmaKhosi have changed or not.
To my surprise they have been using almost the same squad that won them the league and the Nedbank Cup last season. Knowledge Musona is the only inclusion in the starting line-up.
However, the Zimbabwean’s lack of composure in front of goal has contributed to Chiefs’ frustrations this season, as he continues to search for his first official goal since returning from Germany.
Lack of depth in the Chiefs squad could also be affecting them, because the majority of the players in the starting line-up have been playing week in and week out with international fixtures in between. Some of them need to be given a break.
Since the transfer window is closed, Chiefs cannot buy new players so coach Stuart Baxter is sticking by the winning team of last season. I would suggest they then stick with their last season frontline of Kingston Nkhatha, Bernard Parker and Lehlohonolo Majoro.
The trio scored close to 30 goals between them, but now Nkhatha has been relegated to the stands since the arrival of Musona. Then Majoro is further behind as the third choice striker.
Baxter spoke about showing respect to the players that have done very well for the team last season, but does Nkhatha fit the criteria? He hasn’t been given a fair chance. Hence Chiefs have scored only three goals in their last three league games; two of those being penalties.
The Englishman’s tactics have not been bad despite facing criticism for fielding all his three big centre-backs. Yes, he did that last season and it worked, and it can still work again, but he needs his prolific goalscorers upfront.
Musona is a good striker with quality, but I still feel he needs time to get used to Baxter’s tactics, and in the meantime the coach needs to put on his tried and tested strikers to do the job.
Chiefs’ upcoming games will be very difficult, as they welcome Maritzburg United at home on September 14, before travelling to Bloemfontein to face Celtic three days later. They return home to face Platinum Stars ahead of the Soweto Derby against Pirates on September 24.