The deafening silence of Kaizer Chiefs’ early elimination from the CAF Champions League for the third year running has re-affirmed my longstanding worries about the lack of respect some local clubs have about the continent.
Chiefs lost 1-0 on aggregate to Ivorians ASEC Mimosas – a giant that is currently struggling for form and only just scraping for results in every match they are playing.
A first-round exit from the Champions League could be understandable for first-timers, but when this is the third consecutive year that a club which prides itself in being big and the most successful in the country chokes in the early stages, then this should carry the weight of calamity.
Unfortunately, for Kaizer Chiefs, it seems it doesn’t!
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If South Africa’s League champions get knocked out so early in the Champions League, how does that reflect on the PSL? It obviously gives a damaging image on a League that finds pride in ranking itself as being one of the best-financed in the world – let alone Africa.
So Chiefs need to be told straight to their faces that they are showering the PSL bucketloads of humiliation and doing the image of this League no good at all by being such poor ambassadors on the continent.
No amount of excuses about Africa can justify this kind of failure, which would not have been treated with kid gloves by clubs who attach importance to continental competitions.
Heads would have been rolling as this would have been catastrophic to those clubs with more than just domestic ambitions – the kind of clubs that Chiefs should normally be comparing themselves with on the continent if they genuinely feel they are as big as they want the world to believe they are.
So is it fine that Chiefs have been knocked out of the CAF Champions League so early? A big no!
Why? Besides the good money that players earn, all the stadiums with plastic seats and dressing-rooms the size of halls, the television coverage, the massive radio and print coverage, what else does domestic football have to show to the rest of the continent?
The end product (football played and the results) just doesn’t reflect well on this League, which has only ever had one Champions League winner – back in 1995.
Nothing but results prove that you are the best. Good handwriting doesn’t make you a top student when what you are actually writing is poor.
Playing in empty international-class stadiums with posh grass and plastic seats doesn’t make you better than those who play on pitches resembling sweet-potato fields surrounded by rickety wooden stands.
The results column is always the most important and is what always counts.
It is sad that the embarrassment that Amakhosi have brought to South Africa will just be viewed as a mere tyre puncture by both the club management along with its multitude of followers when it has stained the efforts of League sponsors Absa.
As long as Chiefs is a club in South Africa – which is a country found in Africa – then they shouldn’t feel entitled to undermining any continental competition.
When Chiefs were ousted by AS Vita from the Champions League in 2014 there was lenience on them as it was their first year back on the continent since 2005, when they were slapped with a three-year ban after withdrawing from that year’s Confederation Cup straight after being booted out of the Champions League.
Last year’s first-round elimination at the hands of Raja Casablanca was inexcusable considering that they lost at home and suffered another defeat in Morocco.
Being knocked yet again in the first round after losing the first leg at home – yet again – is really depressing considering that ASEC Mimosas were looking more vulnerable than they have ever been.
So right now Chiefs have failed to convince the rest of Africa that they are a giant on this continent!
How does the continent believe that the PSL is not an over-glorified league when South Africa’s biggest club is making getting knocked out of the Champions League in the early stages a habit?
Being a lucrative league has to be accompanied by producing clubs that win the Champions League – more like what happens in Europe.
It is fine to win domestic trophies but then football doesn’t end there – just like in Europe where if they ask about big teams then it is those that have won the Champions League the most – your Real Madrid, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Liverpool.
Chiefs, you have failed to earn the PSL respect, which is a let-down considering all the efforts that your biggest rivals Orlando Pirates have made in recent years.
The less said about Bidvest Wits, the better because to them the CAF Confederation Cup was just a distraction.
All hope now rests on Mamelodi Sundowns this year.
DISCLAIMER: This article in no way refelcts the views of KICK OFF and is solely the opinion of the author.
Article by: Lovemore Moyo