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Will Mamelodi Sundowns loss be final nail in Kaizer Chiefs coach Arthur Zwane's coffin?

23:36 GMT+3 20/01/2023
Arthur Zwane, Kaizer Chiefs, June 2021
Amakhosi head into Saturday evening's league clash at the FNB Stadium a hefty 19 points behind defending champions Masandawana.

With Mamelodi Sundowns looming, Kaizer Chiefs coach Arthur Zwane finds himself under huge pressure.

The fortunes of the two sides could not be more contrasting - Downs are targeting what would be a record breaking 12th straight league win, while Chiefs are trying to avoid a hat-trick of defeats.

Ordinarily, losing three games in a row would not be cause for a coach being fired.

However, what should be worrying for the club was the nature of the last two defeats - a limp 1-0 reverse to Sekhukhune United, before being dismantled 4-0 by AmaZulu...and that was an Usuthu team which had been struggling themselves with just one win in 11 ahead of thrashing Chiefs.

With the dropping of heads, the constant chopping and changing of personnel in the starting XI, there is a feeling of uncertainty and lack of direction in the Amakhosi camp.

It's a testing time for any coach, and Zwane, inexperienced at this level as a head coach, is going to have to dig deep to make sure he does not lose the dressing room. Because once he loses the players' faith, it's a slippery downhill slope, accelerated by an unhappy and impatient-for-success supporter base.

Currently in the process of boosting the playing squad, one gets the feeling that the Chiefs management badly want Zwane to succeed and will try to give him as much support and patience as possible.

However, if things come horribly unstuck against Sundowns - who beat Chiefs 4-0 in the first round league encounter - the pressure will ramp up against Zwane.

And so while it’s unlikely a Sundowns defeat will end Zwane’s tenure immediately – Amakhosi are after all fourth on the log - a bad result against the mighty Brazilians could be the start of his downfall if things get worse in weeks ahead.

Just seven points above the drop zone currently, Chiefs’ clash with Rhulani Mokwena's side is followed by league fixtures against Royal AM, TS Galaxy and Golden Arrows. A heavy defeat to Downs coupled with another few losses, and the club may find itself backed into a corner and thinking about a new head coach.

On the other hand, if Amakhosi do the unthinkable and beat Sundowns, things could quickly turn around for Zwane; Saturday evening could be pivotal for the former Glamour Boys winger.