Certain fans of Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs are apparently planning to stage a protest and will march to the club's famous Naturena headquarters next week.
Sport24 spoke to Thabiso Mohlabeng, an organiser of the planned protest and long-time Chiefs fan, who said they had received "official papers" from the JMPD to stage the protest on Friday, 14 May.However, Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesperson Wayne Minnaar told Sport24: "JMPD has not received any notice of such"."It is true, and it is going ahead," Mohlabeng said.
"We as the fans went to the JMPD to get their there permission, and we also went to Naturena to notify them that we will be coming. "We have the official papers from them. We went there (to the police department) on Thursday, hence why we are going ahead with the protest."Despite bagging a CAF Champions League knockout spot against Tanzania's Simba SC, set to be played next week, Amakhosi have experienced a torrid 2020/21 campaign domestically.
The club is currently languishing five points adrift of the relegation zone in ninth position with only four DStv Premiership games remaining.
In his first season as head coach, Gavin Hunt seems to be undergoing many challenges as he inherited a side that lost the league title to Mamelodi Sundowns on the final matchday last season. Chiefs were also hard-hit by their FIFA transfer ban, barring them from signing players this season.
On Tuesday, Hunt saw his charges fall 2-1 to Premiership newbies Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM), which was the last straw for Chiefs fans who sparked the social media hashtag #KaizerChiefsProtest, which gathered momentum on Friday.
It was one of the top trending topics on Twitter, with thousands of Amakhosi fans and football fanatics adding their voices to the potential protest.
"For us fans we need to talk to management. For so long we’ve been like, tweeting and talking to them," says Mohlabeng.
"They're taking us for a joke, they think we are not serious about football. Football is life for some of us, this is what we live and breathe for.
"It is time we tell Kaizer Chiefs we cannot accept mediocrity."
The protest will start at Southgate Mall at 10:00 on Friday, which is approximately one hour's walk to Naturena, and Mohlabeng says that all Amakhosi fans are welcome to join in.
"Kaizer Chiefs is known for being the biggest club in South Africa; it’s the biggest brand.
"It's the most expensive brand in South Africa and the second most expensive brand in Africa. And we haven’t won a trophy in how many years? "We the fans kept on being told stories, month after month, 'hey we're going to improve here and there...'
"We're also going to raise the issue of the coach because there's this rhetoric that we should judge Gavin Hunt only next season when he has his own players, then I said he should be on leave this season.
"We have to judge him this season with the players that we have. Those players almost won the league last season. Management needs to account for that. Unfortunately, they also lost the league on the final day.
"They never apologized to us. Mr Kaizer Motuang, we love him, we respect him, but he has forgotten about this club. This club cares more about merchandising and marketing; this club does not care about football."
The Glamour Boys are said to be well aware of the potential protest, and a meeting is set for early next week to discuss the matter, as confirmed by Amakhosi corporate communications manager Vina Maphosa.
"No reaction. We have a meeting about it next week‚ so I don’t have anything to share with you at the moment‚” Maphosa told SowetanLIVE.
"I don't want to engage on it. I haven’t got a directive to engage on it until we meet on it next week. We will comment after that meeting. We are saying we are aware of it."
The frustrated fans also sounded a warning of the protest on PowerFM's radio show Masekepe Matsebane.
Amakhosi fan and one of the protest organisers, known as @MotsoAphi on Twitter, said: "I'm going to repeat this as many as I can. This is a peaceful event. No weapons. No harmful and illegal objects. All COVID-19 regulations and protocols will be followed. We are going to work with law enforcement officials to ensure that this march has order."
I'm going to repeat this as many as I can. This is a peaceful event. No weapons. No harmful and illegal objects. All COVID-19 regulations and protocols will be followed. We are going to work with law enforcement officials to ensure that this marchhas order #KaizerChiefsProtest— we are Kaizer Chiefs ????? (@MotsoAphi) May 7, 2021
Meanwhile, Amakhosi are back in action against rivals Swallows FC in a Soweto derby on Wednesday, 12 May. Kick-off is at 17:00.