Staunch Kaizer Chiefs supporter Bantu Holomisa has weighed in on the growing calls for local stadia to reopen for fans.
Also a keen golfer, City Press bumped into the UDM leader – who is also a keen golfer – on the fairways of the Johannesburg Country Club during an event to honour the caddies. He shared his views on the return of fans to the stadium, as well as on the current state of affairs at his beloved Chiefs.
Holomisa, a regular at Chiefs’ home matches, said he could not recall the last time he had watched a match at the stadium.
“It also affects the economy, because those coming to watch the Soweto Derby, for instance, are people from almost all over southern Africa, which means good business for hotels and bed and breakfast establishments. So I fully support the call for stadiums to open. They can put the all the [Covid-19] restrictions in place. We’re now used to the health and safety regulation drill.”
Mamelodi Sundowns were the latest to be granted permission to allow fans at their game during their 1-0 win over Al Ahly of Egypt at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
READ: Downs make Pitso’s CAF task difficult
It was only the fourth time that there were supporters at a local stadium after Bafana Bafana did test runs during their World Cup qualifiers at home against Ethiopia and Zimbabwe in front of 2 000 fans late last year. The MTN8 final between Sundowns and Cape Town City in Durban was also open to fans.
Still, Holomisa feels the 2 000 limit “is a joke”. “Government must just open the stadiums,” he said, adding that he hoped this would happen well in time for the closing stages of the PSL season.
ADVICE TO CHIEFS
Holomisa is among those who strongly believe that Chiefs have an outside chance in the title race, despite the strength of runaway leaders Sundowns. “You can’t say you’ve won until the final whistle blows,” he warned.
He pointed out some of the shortcomings Chiefs needed to address if Amakhosi are to reclaim their glory days. The team have had not trophies since they last won the league in 2015, so the Naturena-based club is closing in on its seventh season without silverware.
“In terms of quality in the squad, an assessment must be done. We’re not interested in buying 30 players – we need a stable guy for central defence to coordinate the backline.
“We’re okay in the goalkeeping areas, but I still believe we need a goalkeeper who organises his defence like Itumeleng Khune.
“I’m unhappy with our strikers – they need to shoot more. They’ve got the quality, but they don’t seem to have the confidence. The derby showed us that they can score, while Bernard Parker also showed Pirates in the recent derby that he still has it.”
READ: Tim Spirit | Dear heartbroken Chiefs and Pirates fans, this too shall pass
Holomisa said he longed for the days when Siphiwe “Shabba” Tshabalala and Reneilwe “Yeye” Letsholonyane were part of the Chiefs setup.
“I still feel we released Shabba and Yeye early and the club hasn’t replaced them. We need thinkers in the Chiefs team. We also need fresh energy and [Nkosingiphile] Ngcobo and [Kgaogelo] Sekgota will be my starting line-up. Other clubs are investing more in youth.”
Chiefs are currently third on the DStv Premiership log, 16 points adrift of leaders Sundowns, but Amakhosi have played four games fewer than the Brazilians.
This is why Holomisa and fellow Amakhosi fans are holding out hope that the PSL will reschedule two of their four games in hand.
There is still uncertainty surrounding the fixtures which Chiefs failed to honour (against Cape Town City and Golden Arrows) which Chiefs failed to honour due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in their camp before the December festive season break.
Amakhosi’s destiny hinges on their pending arbitration case before Safa, which will determine whether they can have the City and Arrows games rescheduled.
The PSL rejected Amakhosi’s request to postpone the team’s fixtures in December.
Chiefs will resume their league campaign against Golden Arrows on Saturday.