Cape Town - Following a highly successful
season in which Kaizer Chiefs reclaimed the Absa Premiership title, changes are
afoot as the club seeks to freshen its playing squad and technical staff in
readiness for the defence of the title in the upcoming 2015/16 season.
At a press conference on Tuesday,
Amakhosi chairman Kaizer Motaung shed some light on what has been going on
behind the scenes at Naturena over the past few weeks.
“The club enjoyed a phenomenal
campaign in 2014/15 and I would like to congratulate and thank everyone that
contributed to making this one of the most unforgettable seasons in the club’s
illustrious history,” said Motaung. “From top to bottom, we rewrote the PSL record
books with the highest number of points, the biggest win margin over the
runners-up, the highest average points per game and a record 19 clean sheets,
feats that have raised the bar in domestic football.
“However, Kaizer Chiefs has never
been a club that is satisfied with resting on success and our aim is to improve
on what we achieved this past season. Football is not a static game and there
is always room for progress. So, while some familiar faces will no longer be
with us, we believe our fans will be very excited by some of the new faces that
will be in the Gold and Black next season.
On the issue of coach Stuart
Baxter’s departure, Motaung commented, “We sat down with the coach and we had a
long discussion on the way forward. He expressed his desire to move on to
bigger challenges after having just completed a historic and successful three
seasons with us. We parted amicably.
“Regarding his replacement, we will
throw the net far and wide in our search to find the right coach. Once we have
found him, we will make an announcement.”
The chairman also paid tribute to
two stalwarts, Josta Dladla and Siyabonga Nkosi, who were both released after
their respective contracts expired. “Josta and Siyabonga have served Kaizer
Chiefs with honour and distinction, contributing to us winning numerous
trophies. However, neither has played a lot this season and they are getting on
with age,” he said. “It’s sad, but sometimes, as a club, you have to take tough
decisions. That’s why we decided to go forward without them. We need to look as
well to the future, needing to invest in younger players.”
When asked about the Itumeleng
Khune contract saga, which has been dragging for months, the chairman revealed
that despite their best efforts, the parties were ultimately unable to find
common ground. “We have been trying for almost a year to negotiate a new
contract with Khune. But we couldn’t agree on terms. There comes a time when
it’s best to go our separate ways,” he lamented. “Khune has done brilliantly
with us. However, he obviously felt that it was time to make a move to greener
pastures. We wish him all the best in the future.”
The futures of other Bafana Bafana
stars such as Mandla Masango, Tefu Mashamaite, Katlego Mphela and Erick Mathoho
were also clarified by the chairman.
“We offered Mandla a new
contract, which he didn’t accept. Instead, Mandla asked to be released and
that’s what we decided to agree on. We also wish him all the best.
“Unfortunately, our negotiations with Tefu proved unsuccessful and he is on
his way out too.
“Katlego was called into a
disciplinary hearing last week for failing to attend a number of important
events. It was agreed to part ways.”
Mathoho on the other hand remains
key to Amakhosi’s future plans and will not be going anywhere as the club has
not been approached for his services. “Tower is a highly valuable member of the
team and will be staying at the club. He still has two years left on his
contract,” said Motaung.
Out On Loan
A number of players have also
been earmarked to go out on loan in order to gain further experience. Phakamani Mngadi will go back to Belgium side
AS Eupen, where he spent last season. Others in line to be farmed out are Ovidy
Karuru, Simphiwe Mtsweni, Zitha Macheke, Chris Matombo and Levy Mokgothu.
“We had great expectations when
Phakamani arrived. However, it has not worked out as we had hoped and it has
been decided to loan him back to his Belgium club for another year,” said Motaung.
“A few other players might also go on
loan because it is always important that players get game time in order
to improve. Our up and coming youngsters in particular need to gain this
Finally, when pressed on possible
new signings at the club, Motaung responded, “The players will return from
holiday on 18 June for testing. Thereafter, we shall confirm all the new
signings for the 2015/2016 season. We can’t divulge this information now, as we
are still negotiating with some exciting young talents, while some others are at
present still under contract of their current club.”
In closing, he reiterated, “We
would like to thank the players and the coach for their contribution to our
success and we will ensure that we reinforce the team and ready to compete
fiercely in the new season.”