The rot continues as Chiefs head for their lowest points tally
Amakhosi's miserable season continues with just three points from their last four league games
Kaizer Chiefs are headed for an unwanted record as the club flirts with their lowest points tally in a league season.
Amakhosi have amassed 38 points from 27 games to date‚ with neither coach Giovanni Solinas or Ernst Middendorp able to get the side to fire in the league.
Tuesday’s home draw with Lamontville Golden Arrows means the club have taken three points from the last 12 available‚ which has put their top-eight place under threat‚ though it would take others behind them to excel to be knocked out of the top half.
Chiefs are still four points short of their lowest league tally of 42 in the 2006/07 season‚ during which Middendorp was in charge for the first 23 games of the campaign before being replaced by Kosta Papic.
Their problems then are much the same as now — too many draws. In that campaign they ended ninth in the league. The following season they only managed one more point‚ for a total of 43‚ as they finished sixth‚ suggesting there is no quick-fix for the club.
The team need five points from their final three games this season to avoid matching‚ or falling short‚ of that lowest points total and none of their remaining fixtures look simple.
They play top eight-chasing Bloemfontein Celtic in neutral Polokwane on Saturday‚ before fixtures against relegation-threatened teams desperate for survival — Free State Stars (home‚ May 4) and Chippa United (away‚ May 11).
It is all a long way off from the heady days of their last league triumph four years ago when coach Stuart Baxter took them to 69 points‚ a full 31 more than they have at this stage of the current campaign.
The decline in competitiveness of the side over a relatively short period will be of serious concern to club management‚ especially as recent expensive acquisitions such as Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro appear to have done little to change their fortunes.
Chiefs have shown a slight improvement under Middendorp‚ who has 20 points from his 13 games in charge (1.54 points per game) compared to Solinas’s 18 from 14 (1.29 per game).
At the same time, Middendorp has warned Bafana Bafana boss Stuart Baxter that expecting goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune to be ready for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in June and July would be highly unrealistic.
Middendorp said that in his opinion Khune has no chance of recovering from his long-term shoulder injury in time for Egypt 2019‚ where SA meet Ivory Coast in their first group D game on June 23.
Baxter has said that even if Khune can play a handful of league games for Chiefs‚ he will strongly consider including one of Africa’s best keepers in his squad for the continental showpiece.
Middendorp said with Khune only back to light training‚ and with three league matches plus the Nedbank Cup final against TS Galaxy remaining for Chiefs this season‚ such a prospect was unlikely.
“Until now he has not even trained with any ball involved at all‚” Middendorp said‚ asked about Khune’s state of fitness.
“But there is no chance‚ 100% if somebody dreams about having Itu Khune into Afcon‚ when he is not even training. And secondly‚ he should really make it happen to be very concentrated and clear-structured to prepare himself to have a good start of the [2019-20] season.
“That’s my opinion. But if the national team coach has an idea to call in Itu Khune for Afcon‚ that’s his decision. Our medical department definitely has other ideas.”
Khune last played in Chiefs’ 2-1 league win against Arrows in Durban on December 1. He injured his shoulder in training and underwent surgery.