DURBAN – Kaizer Chiefs defender Ramahlwe Mphahlele has urged Amakhosi fans to give their new signings an opportunity to settle in before they start judging them.
Chiefs have already signed Bhongolwethu Jayiya from Cape Town City, as well as former Maritzburg United defender Philani Zulu plus Teenage Hadebe.
The trio came to Chiefs for free as they were all free agents.
And even before the season starts, there have been murmurs of disapproval among some Chiefs fans who are questioning the quality of their club’s new acquisitions.
But Mphahlele, who joined Chiefs from Mamelodi Sundowns last season and also experienced being similarly doubted, has appealed for patience.
“The fans will always complain, but what if they come and do well?” he asked. “They deserve to be given a chance. The fans need to realise that at the end of the day it is not about one player. We have to do well as a team.”
The new acquisitions are no doubt part of Chiefs’ attempt to avoid what would be an embarrassing third season without a trophy.
Like everyone at the club, Mphahlele was disappointed by the barren spell, his splendid individual performance notwithstanding
“I gave my best, but unfortunately we didn’t win anything as a team. We will try again this season. It is always about the next opportunity. We have to keep on trying.
“What happened last season was a lesson for us. We learned the hard way. We have to plan for the next season and hope for the best,” Mphahlele explained.
He looks back at his nomination for defender of the season as something to build on going forward in the hope that his good showing is of benefit to the entire team.
“My teammates were there for me and we all gave our best, and it is so unfortunate that it wasn’t to be for us. We will go again this season, and I believe we will get something.”
Many have said his decision to join Chiefs last season was folly, Mphahlele having left championship-winning Mamelodi Sudowns – whom he captained – to being just another player at Chiefs.
But he has no regrets, not even after having watched Sundowns win both the Caf Champions League and the Caf Super Cup as well as playing at the Fifa Club World Cup.
“It was meant to be, man. Nobody can change what Sundowns have achieved. This is what God planned for Sundowns and I’m so happy for them,” he said.
“I was at Sundowns and I had my time there. Now what they’ve done is good for them. They are doing well. What else can I say? I’m happy for them.”
Mphahlele has been a serial winner in his career. He won the Nedbank Cup with Moroka Swallows in 2009 and went on to attain the two league tittles, Nedbank Cup and the Telkom Knockout with Mamelodi Sundowns.
Having won all these cups, there’s one missing, and that is the MTN8.
“I still have time on my side and I have no doubt that it will come. I’m not in a hurry to win everything at once. It will eventually come.
“I will take my time, work hard and pray more. I believe they will come. I’m at the right club to win trophies. We have to work hard as team. We have to be smart by defending well and being ruthless in front of goals.”
And the fans must just support the team, especially the new signings, who might take a while to settle in.