Saturday, 5 May 2012


by Malaika Wa Azania on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 12:56pm ·
As the hopes of the biggest opposition team in the country, Kaizer Chiefs, of clinging the 2012 Premier Soccer League title slip further into oblivion, and the ruling team, Orlando Pirates, cements its position at the top of the league table with less than seven league matches remaining, it becomes necessary that all of us who love the beautiful game take a moment to reflect on how the Democratic Alliance of soccer can find itself being outsmarted by teams as relatively uninteresting as Moroka Swallows, Supersport United and even Mamelodi Sundowns. Historically, the DA has been able to maintain a distant lead to the PAC (Moroka Swallows), which, despite its abundance of consistent and disciplined players somehow fails to make a significant impact in the soccer scene. And so, how a team once so powerful can be reduced to a laughing stock that Chiefs has become is a development that begs for critical analysis. This analysis is important especially for us supporters of the ruling team (Orlando Pirates), because as we now enjoy the lead and brilliance that once defined Chiefs, we also run the risk of being dethroned at the zenith of our supporter’s euphoria.
The crisis that engulfs Kaizer Chiefs today must be understood in the context of the team’s location in the current phase of the National Diski Revolution (NDR). For the last decade, Kaizer Chiefs has enjoyed hegemony afforded to those who own the means of production. Only 7 years ago, Chiefs had in its possession a great labour tank that included the likes of Collins Mbesuma, who during the championship race of the 2004/2005 soccer season, under the leadership of Romanian coach Ted Dmitri, scored a record-breaking 39 goals in all competitions. This is the same team that only 10 years ago, in the 2001/2002 season, won four major trophies in a space of only four months. These included the Vodacom Challenge, BP Top Eight, Coca Cola Cup and the CAF Cup Winners Cup, known as the “Mandela Cup”. In April 2002, Chiefs was also chosen as the CAF Club of the Year after an impressive performance in the Super Cup tournament, where they played Egyptian giants, Al-Ahly. In the 2003/2004 season, the team was given the Fair Play Award at the Peace Cup in South Korea and at the end of that season, went on to become champions of the PSL for the very first time. This same team beat Manchester United in the 2006 Vodacom Challenge to win the trophy, a feat that the team has accomplished a total of four times. All these achievements by Kaizer Chiefs were by no means an accident of nature or a stroke of luck, nor were they an intervention of fate. They were a reflection of a team that had immersed itself in diski discipline, a team with a hunger for success and an even bigger appetite for defeating the construct that had seen the emergence of working-class teams from the gutters of incompetency and complacency.
However, as with every era in history where the working-class is systematically marginalised and repressed by a dominant destructive force, at its highest point of development and greatness, Chiefs began to undergo a performance recession. Since 2007, under the leadership of Ernst Middendorp, the team has been going on a downward spiral. It cannot be a coincidence that Chiefs underwent this recession at a time when the world itself was undergoing a serious economic recession. Surely, there must be a link between the two, as there is always a link between all chromatin networks of a capitalist, anti-majoritarian nucleus. The collapse of all things anti-majoritarian is starkly contrasted by the simultaneous re-emergence of pro-majoritarian presence. In the 2010/2011 season, the voices of the proletariat became pronounced, and a force to be reckoned with, when the ruling team, Orlando Pirates, became the first team in the history of the PSL to win all three major trophies in a single season. Pirates won the MTN 8, the Nedbank Cup and went on to finish at the top of the PSL log, making them the current defending champions (and inevitable prospective winners) of the title. As the only South Afrikan team to have ever won the CAF Champions League (in 1995), Pirates’ victories, like Chiefs’ defeats, have been linked with the broader victories of the working-class majority. Pirates won the CAF Champions League at the dawn of a democratic break-through, won the treble at a time when our country was coming out of the disastrous Polokwane Conference, almost as if to illuminate a darkened path. And now, with the ugly head of factionalism rearing its ugly head on the road to Mangaung, Pirates is proving itself to be a disciplined force of the left by remaining united (that is to say, not firing coaches) and coherent in its usual character of putting the majority first.
Let us now discuss the eight days in April where Vladimir Vermezovic (“VV”), like son of the soil Julius Malema, found himself thrown out in the cold by a team he had served diligently for 3 seasons, a team that now wants to appropriate all blame to him when in fact, it is the players themselves who are bringing the team into disrepute. On the 13th of April, the country awoke to the shocking news that Kaizer Chiefs had fired “VV” with only seven matches remaining to the tournament. This unprecedented move proved to be a serious calamity. Only a day after the coach was fired, the team was beaten 1-0 by Ea Lla Koto in the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals. Since then, the team has lost 1-0 to Maritzburg United at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane (on the 17th), the same score it lost to Black Leopards on the 4th at FNB Stadium, seven days before “VV” was given a chisa mpama.
But was “VV” the problem to begin with, or is he, like Julius Malema, a scapegoat of a bigger underlying issue that is being kept within the family?  Does the removal of “VV” mean a new chapter for the team, or will those who led the “ngoku” chorus find themselves engulfed by a state of nostalgia when the reality of their team’s premature decision begins to sink in? Only time will tell. In the meantime, we can only wonder with a sense of déjà vu. After all, “VV” was fired with only 7 matches to go before the season is wrapped up. Former president of the Republic, Thabo Mbeki, was also shown a red card with only 7 months left of his presidency. This decision plunged the country into somewhat of a crisis from which it has not gotten out, and gave birth to seeds of destruction which continue to manifest exponentially. And just as the ANC is now held hostage by a lack of visionary planning, Chiefs’ only working plan seems to be its funeral plan….
Malaika wa Azania
Supporter of the National Team, leaders of the NDR

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