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Are we seeing the start of Kaizer Chiefs revolution as Zwane risks vs Arrows?

09:21 GMT+3 01/01/2023
Samkelo Zwane Kaizer Chiefs
It paid dividends as the Glamour Boys ran out 2-0 winners over Abafana bes’Thende at the Moses Moses Mabhida Stadium on New Eve

Kaizer Chiefs head coach Arthur Zwane made some brave decisions by fielding a significant number of young Amakhosi development products against Golden Arrows.

The departure of the talented and homegrown Njabulo Blom this week for MLS side St Louis SC was a reminder of the good work being done by the Chiefs development wing.

Prior to becoming assistant head coach and later head coach, Zwane was of course a youth team coach himself, and it looks now as if the long term plan might be starting to pay off as more and more players are successfully making the step up to the Chiefs first team.
Brave calls

After what was an inconsistent and at times frustrating first three or so months of the season for the Soweto side, Zwane could ill-afford to lose to an Arrows side capable of beating anyone in the PSL on their day.

So there was an element of risk in selecting midfielder Samkelo Zwane (20) to start against the Durban side. Touted by some as possible successor to Blom, Zwane had only two minutes of first team action to his name (a brief run against Stellenbosch FC back in October) prior to the Abafana bes’Thende clash.

Another youth product, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, has battled for regular game-time this season and even last – it was under Gavin Hunt when we really saw him thriving.

But he was also back in from the start against Arrows, which meant that along with veteran Itumeleng Khune, there were three homegrown players in from the start.
Half the squad

Not a very large proportion, although in modern football, it’s a decent enough return.
Especially so when adding that another two players from the Amakhosi conveyor-belt, 17-year-old striker Wandile Duba and attacking midfielder Mduduzi Shabalala (18), also came off the bench, while Sabelo Radebe, Bruce Bvuma and Siyabonga Ngezana were unused subs.

That takes it up to eight, the total number of homegrown players in the match day squad. Nine if you include Zitha Macheke, who was developed by Chiefs but first played in the PSL for Chippa United and later Bidvest Wits and Stellenbosch FC before returning to Naturena.

The advantage of players who have come through the system is that are accustomed to the club culture, and understand the expectations, pressures and responsibility which comes with playing for a massive club like Chiefs.
It also helps greatly that Zwane worked with many of these players in their formative years; could it be we are seeing the start of an Amakhosi masterplan which could usher in a bright new dawn?