Bobby Motaung speaks on Kaizer Chiefs’ high turnover of coaches
Football manager says decisions are not made overnight and follow on plenty of workshops
Kaizer Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung spoke to the media at Montecasino on the night his father, Kaizer Chiefs founder and chair Kaizer Motaung, was inducted into the SA Hall of Fame.
Motaung was asked about the high rotation of coaches at a club previously known for not changing bosses often — six, from 2020 to date, if you include caretaker coach Cavin Johnson. He was also asked whether management takes ownership of the hiring and firing decisions they have made in recent years.
Motaung’s response to the first question was: “It has never been in our culture to chop and change coaches, even in a season or two or three. We’ve always given coaches a chance to implement the vision and the plan.
“I don’t know where the culture comes from of our supporters trying to, you know, zabalaza [rebel] at the stadium.
“It’s a new culture and we don’t understand. It requires patience, understanding and managing. Understanding their questions, their passion, their emotions and what they are going through.
“The game has changed today. There is betting, there’s all these things. People are emotional. The economy is bad. They depend on certain things. They come to the stadium with hopes to enjoy and find hope to go home happy.
“When they are disappointed those emotions start what has been happening in the week. Our sport industry is to give hope and joy to our supporters. They want the three points. They don’t care, 1-0 and they are happy.
“Unfortunately, it puts pressure on the players and everybody. It is how we are going to manage it and go forward with it. It takes our leadership and our character to manage the process.”
Motaung was asked if Chiefs’ management has reflected on the high turnover of coaches and effect it has had on the club. He said letting coaches go comes from decisions that are not taken overnight.
“We have board sessions, executive sessions, we’ve got workshops. I think the past four, five seasons I’ve never had so many workshops in a season where we relook.
“Even [during] Fifa breaks, we have workshops with the executive, discussing with the board the Chiefs culture, Chiefs’ way. We’re trying to grind this thing out to say what is in that space [where] we lose two games, we lose a league and a cup, supporters are fighting.
“The vision changes again to say [we need] that interim structure or that structure we wanted, to say let’s build for the season and continue because we’ve acquired players with the same technical staff and everything.
“[We even discuss it] from a technical plan point of view to say these are our challenges, we can see they are coming and everything [violence] happens. A decision has to be taken because peoples’ lives are at risk.
“It becomes a challenging factor for us as management. But we are saying it is part of our job to manage and understand the challenges. It is a big brand. It is a big organisation.
“It is not an overnight decision-making session where you say tomorrow we don’t want this coach because he’s lost two games. No, no, no. To build a team, to build success is a process.
“When Stuart Baxter came, he lost games and at the end of the season he won the Nedbank [Cup] and the league. But to win the Nedbank and the league, when do you win it? You don’t win it at the end. You win it fighting the battles going forward in the season. When he won the league, he was a hero.
“[In Baxter's middle] season [of three, in his first stint] we lost it at the end with two points. [The next] season we won the top eight, we won the league. Just an example to say success is not built overnight.
“It’s not all our supporters [rebelling], by the way. Our people have a culture of being emotional and being irrational.”
On whether Chiefs’ management take ownership of the coaching decisions they have made, Motaung said: “We do. Whatever happens, whether we win, whether we lose, it’s our responsibility as management.
“Whether our supporters have issues, it’s our responsibility. We are not going to pass the buck to anybody.”
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