Chiefs are stifled by VV’s vitriol

2011-05-07 20:40

Speed kills! This is the message drivers are constantly being reminded of on our public roads. But it also applies to football, and Kaizer Chiefs might look back on this season’s campaign and wonder if they shouldn’t perhaps have taken the foot off the accelerator.

Coach Vladimir Vermezovic has tried to introduce a fast-passing game, but this seems to have caused the players to panic and rush into releasing the ball or shooting when, in fact, it would have been much easier and more effective to keep possession.

“VV”, as the Chiefs’ mentor is nicknamed, failed to learn from his Serb compatriot Kostadin Papic during his time at the helm of Orlando Pirates.

Under Papic, Pirates were playing a fast-flowing brand of football but, in the end, they had nothing to show for their philosophy of speed.

Both coaches are from the same part of Europe, where football is played at an unbelievable pace, but they should have realised what works for South African players – a slower-paced game.

Decision-making, especially at crucial stages in the game, has been Chiefs’ main downfall this season, as players tended to make rushed decisions.

People will definitely look at the five games that Chiefs drew as the turning point of their season.

These were 10 points lost rather than five gained. At that stage of the season, any team contesting the league title can hardly afford to throw away so many points.

Even Chiefs manager Bobby Motaung pointed to the five consecutive draws in the past two months – against Santos, Orlando Pirates, Vasco da Gama, Free State Stars and BIDVest Wits – as having had a negative impact on their title challenge.

“The five consecutive draws that we played is what made the difference for us this season,” said Motaung this week.

But other factors played a major role in Chiefs’ below-par season, which was in tatters as early as the first round.

They relied too heavily on Knowledge Musona’s goal-scoring boots and it was not surprising when the team hit a slump after the Zimbabwean marksman was injured.

The team was also inconsistent, largely due to the coach’s selection choices.

People might already have forgotten the Abia Nale incident, when he shed tears on the bench after VV ridiculed him, but that must have been the turning point. Coaches can make or break a player, and clearly VV lacks man-management skills.

Reports from Naturena say that Nale was not the only one at the receiving end of VV’s attacks, as some players feigned injuries rather than take part in matches.

You cannot get the best out of players who are fearful of making mistakes. This is what Chiefs players have become under VV.

Instead of expressing themselves on the field of play, players rush to take decisions which ultimately backfire as they are anxious about making mistakes.

In almost every game, players look to the bench after making a pass or goal attempt to see the technical team’s reaction – and are often met by rage in the coach’s eyes.

What happens then is players cannot take responsibility and merely release the ball as fast as they can to avoid unnecessary attention.

The sooner VV realises that he needs to be a man manager to bring out the best in his players, the better for this battling Naturena side.

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