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By The Numbers: Molefi Ntseki’s Brief Tenure

We’re only a few months into the PSL, and a club famous for coaching changes has already announced yet another coaching change.

Molefi Ntseki

We’re only a few months into the PSL season, and a club famous for coaching changes has already announced yet another coaching change. No, we’re not talking about Chippa United, we’re talking about Kaizer Chiefs, who yesterday announced the departure of Coach Molefi Ntseki from the Head Coach position. Whisper it, but even Morgan Mammila (7 June) has been at the helm longer than Molefi Ntseki at Chiefs (28 June to 23 October).

The Wheels Of Change

Molefi Ntseki is just the latest manager to walk into Naturena and realize it takes a lot to turn around this gigantic ship. With his departure, Kaizer Chiefs have now made seven coaching changes in five years since 2018, as many as they did in the 16 years before (2002 – 2018, excl. Caretakers). Let’s run through them.

In the 16 years before then, Chiefs changed from Muhsin Ertugral (102 league games) to a Khuse/Khumalo duo (25). Ted Dumitru (60) replaced the duo before Ernst Middendorp (53) came in for his first spell. A short Kosta Papic stint followed in 2007 (7 league games) still the shortest reign for a Chiefs coach, before Muhsin Ertugral (59 games) came in for his second spell. Vladimir Vermezovic (83) and Stuart Baxter (90 in his first spell) were in charge for long spells in the early 2010s. Komphela was the last manager given some patience, and the time gap between those long-standing coaches and the last seven tells another story. There were 3172 days between VV’s first league game & Komphela’s last (3 coaches). There have only been 1886 days between Solinas’ first league game & Ntseki’s last (6 coaches).

Chiefs Were Heading For 10th

Only twice before in 27 seasons have Chiefs started a league season worse than they have now. Two of the last three times it has happened (2007/8 and 2020/21) Chiefs went on to finish in the Top 8. But the blow of a poor start was softened by a Telkom Knockout Title in 2007 and a deep Champions League run in 2020/1. None of these are currently available on the table.

The diagram shows Chiefs’ current trajectory. At the current rate, Molefi Ntseki’s side was on course for a finish just outside the Top 8 – in 9th if we’re being generous. Their tally of 11 points from nine games would be equivalent to 37 points in a full season, enough for 10th last season and 9th the season before. Indeed, the average finishing position for a PSL team with 11 points from 9 games is 10th. Something needed to change.

Ultimately, it was not a league result that was the final nail for Ntseki’s tenure. Eliminated by AmaZulu in the Carling Knockout, their (statistically speaking) easiest chance to trophy had vanished into thin air (4 games mostly against teams that finished lower than you last season). Altogether, Chiefs have lost 15 games this year – they’ve never lost more in a calendar year in PSL history. The one positive about elimination from the League Cup is the fact that there are now fewer games to lose.

And that alone is a damning indictment on the state of the club.

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