When captain Tefu Mashamaite lifts the Premier Soccer League trophy on Saturday
afternoon at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, it will be the
12th time a Kaizer Chiefs captain has raised a championship prize.
It extends their record, not only of the most league title wins since the
advent of professional football more than a half century ago, but also the
total number of prizes they have won.
Whether you like it or not, Chiefs are the country’s most successful club ...
ever. They are the most popular by far too.
You need only have been at
Atteridgeville a week ago for their match against hosts Mamelodi Sundowns to
see how more than three quarters of a capacity crowd were clad in their gold
and black colours.
Given then they need prove no more in the domestic market, is it now not time
that Chiefs raise their gaze and look beyond the horizon and set out to conquer
the continent. They have nothing left to prove locally.
It is amazing that such a powerful brand - Nike sell their kit in shops
worldwide as part of a range of hip clothing - have such an insular outlook.
Instead of embracing the prospect of taking their local domination and
extending it Africa-wide, Chiefs send out indifferent signals over their
This time last year they were actually ‘umhing” and ‘aahing’ about whether to
even participate in the African Champions League. They felt their elimination
by AS Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 2014 edition had
cost them the Premier Soccer League title as they let slip a comfortable lead
and imploded in the closing stages.
They did not want the same to happen again and were, privately, most relieved
to go out against Raja Casablanca of Morocco in this year’s second round,
riding themselves of any distractions as they marched onto PSL success.
But ... really ... how can finishing top of a table of 16 clubs stretching from
Polokwane to Cape Town compare with winning the continent’s top trophy and
going onto to play in the FIFA Club World Cup.
Chiefs now qualify to compete again in the Champions League next year and are
presented with an opportunity to put aside the insularity and parochiality and
expand their success across the borders.
It needs a change of attitude from management, an embracing of the challenge
and a world vision.
What’s the point of being a goldfish swimming circuitously around in a small
bowl when they have the potential to be real predators out in the deep oceans?
Mark Gleeson is a world-renowned soccer commentator and Editorial Director of Mzanzi Football.
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