Connect with us


Kaizer Chiefs 2023/24 Preview – Last Season, Ntseki, Recruitment, And Squad

Kaizer Chiefs made it eight years without a trophy last season. The Glamour Boys finished a mammoth 26 points behind champions, Mamelodi Sundowns and lost 12 of their 30 DSTV Premiership matches.

Molefi Ntseki

Kaizer Chiefs made it eight years without a trophy last season. The Glamour Boys finished a mammoth 26 points behind champions, Mamelodi Sundowns and lost 12 of their 30 DSTV Premiership matches. Can an internal restructuring of the technical team see Molefi Ntseki bring the glory days back to the Naturena-based club?

Last Season

The big call prior to the season was handing the coaching reins to the inexperienced Arthur Zwane. It was meant to be a long-term project with the aim of revamping the playing style and integrating some youngsters who had been marginalised under Stuart Baxter. Despite losing three of the first five matches, including 4-0 to Sundowns, Zwane managed to find a reasonable formula to go seven matches unbeaten before a shock 2-1 loss to Chippa United before the World Cup break.

The football wasn’t particularly enterprising and the coach regularly bemoaned his side ‘playing in patches’ and missing clear chances. The latter was only sometimes true and many matches saw Chiefs looking pretty toothless in attack, unless they were handed a penalty or any opponent was sent off. Whilst almost all of their 12 penalties and nine major opposition red cards were valid and fair decisions, it was a helping hand that they can’t expect to receive in the new season.

After a three-match losing streak in January, pressure ramped up on the coach but he again found answers to buy himself time. The next 11 fixtures in league and cup brought just a single defeat and there was optimism of finishing in second spot and winning the Nedbank Cup. Things unravelled horribly after that though, with five defeats in the final six matches and the tide turning against “Mangethe” as Chiefs’ supporters became violent. There simply weren’t enough positive signs in the performances or the results to suggest another season of Zwane was a worthwhile risk.

Ntseki Takes The Reins

After pursuing Young Africans head coach Nasreddine Nabi, Chiefs eventually settled on promoting their ‘Head of Technical and Youth Development for the Academy’, Molefi Ntseki. He finds himself in his first ever head coach role in the top-flight despite having been in charge of Bafana Bafana for an ill-fated nine match period.

Chiefs vented their frustration this week at the media for so openly reporting their pursuit of Zwane’s replacement. Nabi ended up overplaying his hand by talking to the press and not being willing to accept Arthur Zwane on his coaching staff (few would!). Putting that strange state of affairs to one side, what can Ntseki bring to the table? Firstly, he says he was already very involved in first team matters last season but that simply means he gets some of the blame for the poor season, something seemingly lost on the coach.

Expect to see a 4-2-3-1 shape based on his preferences with the national team and we already saw that shape in the friendly defeat to Yanga. Seven new players have arrived and it’s clear that greater experience was wanted in the attack and a new centre back pairing came in after Zwane publicly slammed his defence in May (“Unfortunately, you look at the goals that we conceded this season, the entire defence let us down. Hence, we started changing”). Ntseki’s side is probably going to be a bit more pragmatic and not as open on the break or as naïve in their buildup play versus high pressing opponents.


At the back, two of last season’s top performing centre backs in the DSTV Premiership have come on board. Siyabonga Ngezana may have been sold overseas but Thatayaone Ditlhokwe and Given Msimango look like very strong additions from SuperSport United (free) and TS Galaxy respectively. They should help to cut out some of the basic errors we saw last term, not least with a genuine defensive midfielder in Edson Castillo arriving to replace Njabulo Blom (albeit six months too late).

The rest of the additions have come in the front four places. Mduduzi Mdantsane will likely play as the number ten having been signed from Cape Town City whilst wingers Pule Mmodi and Tebogo Potsane have arrived. Up front, Ranga Chivaviro hit 17 goals for relegated Marumo Gallants (10 in the PSL, seven in the CAF Confederations Cup) and he brings a focal point after Caleb-Bonfils Bimenyimana was unceremoniously written-off barely six months after his arrival. The latter’s projected move to Morocco has fallen through so Ntseki may need to reintegrate him.

The additions in attack are all vastly experienced but they’re also all fast heading towards, or already past their 30th birthdays. They won’t be granted time to settle in; they’ve been signed to hit the ground running right away. Khama Billiat was offered a new deal on half the salary but has instead walked away but the contract offer, and the presence of Keagan Dolly already, means that Chiefs were hardly focused on how their younger attackers would get games. Ashley Du Preez won’t be affected as he carried the attack at times last year, but Bafana Bafana international Kgaogelo Sekgota and creative duo, Mshini Ngcobo and Mduduzi Shabalala, will have a fight to get on the pitch with any regularity.

Squad Shapping Up

*Realistic options to play regularly – excludes fringe players
*Accurate up to 27 July

Looking at the squad, there is much more depth that last season. Du Preez moved up front from around February and really excelled. His pace remains absolutely crucial but at least Chivaviro adds an extra aerial threat and Potsane can somewhat replicate Du Preez’s pace whilst the latter is injured. Dolly will miss the start of the season but there is plenty of cover now, even if the signing of Mdantsane has been made a few years too late (and the player has actually barely scored in the last 18 months).

Pule Mmodi may be 30, but he is still an excellent dribbler and he should excel down the left flank for Ntseki. We may see a narrower right sided player like Dolly (when fit) or Christian Saile to help overload centrally but the toll on the deeper midfielder two will be significant. At times, Ntseki could drop Mdantsane and add Sithebe’s energy as a third midfielder.

There are still some doubts at fullback and we saw Kwinika and Dove start there in the friendly vs Yanga having played at centre back for almost all of last term. Sifiso Hlanti has started to really show his age and both Dillan Solomons and Reeve Frosler have question marks over them defensively. Left back is probably the one area where Chiefs needed a signing but didn’t add anyone. Overall, it’s a stronger squad and whilst the younger players’ game time may be stifled, Chiefs have upgraded their playing personnel from last season.


As always, Chiefs will get the most attention of all the teams in the league in the media. There are lots of talking points on a weekly basis and none is bigger than whether Molefi Ntseki is cut out for a head coach role in the top-flight having never been untrusted with one before. Can he turn Chiefs into title challengers? It’s very unlikely they will even get within 15 points of Sundowns next season. There is more hope that they can lift one of the two domestic trophies, score more goals in general and be much harder to beat. A repeat of last season’s 12 league losses must be avoided at all costs.


Best Possible Finish: Second

Worst Possible Finish: Seventh

James is a football analyst who writes about the tactics of the PSL and English Premier League. He holds the UEFA A coaching licence and has previously worked for several clubs in analysis roles.Twitter:

More in PSL