Kaizer Chiefs players hide in their homes when Amakhosi are not doing well‚ such can be the angry reaction from the country’s biggest sporting team’s supporters.
The revelation was made by Amakhosi’s new left-back Sibusiso Khumalo‚ signed from SuperSport United in the off-season‚ and he admits it can be tough when Chiefs are losing.
Ironically‚ Khumalo’s introduction for veteran Tsepo Masilela on Chiefs’ left side of defence in Amakhosi’s last three games has coincided with a tentative up-turn from the side’s poor start to the season‚ and three wins in a row that even see the Soweto giants topping the Premier Soccer League.
“It’s very difficult to play for Chiefs. Because‚ you know‚ we didn’t start the season well‚” Khumalo said.
“I’ll give you an example – you walk in the street or go to the petrol station‚ and the fans treat you like you did something wrong.
“But it’s part of football. You can’t win every game.
“We didn’t start well. But now we’ve won three games in a row so now the supporters treat you well and smile with you.
“So you just have to focus and not take things personally when the fans are angry at you.
“You stay at home when the team is not doing well. You’re scared to go out‚ because you don’t know what people are going to say.”
Khumalo said a Chiefs squad that saw 17 players shown the door in the off-season‚ and made 13 signings‚ have taken time to find their feet‚ but the new players are beginning to adjust to their new surroundings at Naturena well.
“As you saw when we won the Carling Cup‚ we were all over Pirates‚ and everyone thought Chiefs are going to do well this season. And then I think the guys relaxed‚ and that’s where we didn’t do well‚” the Bafana Bafana left-back said.
“Then the players saw that‚ and that’s where I think we’ve started winning again.
“I think the new players are also fitting in now. In the last three games the team introduced me‚ Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Mitchell Katsvairo. And the other signings are still to come.”
Masilela‚ a Bafana legend who was Chiefs’ player’s player of the season in a sterling 2014-15 league and cup double-winning season‚ had begun to show the effects of an injury-plagued career and looked behind the pace as Amakhosi struggled at the start of the season.
Khumalo’s introduction by Chiefs coach Steve Komphela has brought a notable energy and dynamism to Amakhosi’s left flank.
“The coach gave me the opportunity so I grabbed it with both hands. Now‚ so far so good‚ and I’d like to keep it this way‚” Khumalo said.
“I didn’t come to Chiefs to take Tsepo’s place – I came to learn from him. But I am happy to be playing.
“We bring different games. Tsepo plays when he has the ball‚ I can play without the ball as well.