Johnson to work on Chiefs’ ‘mental strength’ after derby loss

“Chiefs employ you for your technical quality, but mentally, you have to be at another level,” says Johnson.

Kaizer Chiefs coach Cavin Johnson sees the Fifa break for World Cup qualifiers as the perfect time for his side to work on their weaknesses. 

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Following Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Orlando Pirates in the DSTv Premiership Soweto derby, Johnson, who celebrated his 65th birthday on the day, believes the break allows for necessary upskilling in his team. 

Despite the defeat, Johnson notes that Chiefs displayed more promise than he had anticipated. 

However, the crucial aspect is the lessons learned and identifying areas requiring improvement. 

The break offers an opportunity for strategic adjustments, ensuring the team addresses weaknesses and is better prepared for upcoming challenges.

“It was a game of three quarters and one quarter. Pirates came out stronger than us and they got the goal in 20 minutes,” Johnson said after the game. 

“And again, it was a little bit of a mistake from my team. But in saying that, I thought we were then able to contain the game in certain moments. 

“We came out better in the second half. I thought we had a penalty disallowed, and we hit the post with (Edson) Castillo.” 

Johnson calls for calmness 

Chiefs had some promising moments especially in the second half where, as Johnson admits, with a little more composure, they could have drawn level. 

“The team played a lot better than I expected today. There were moments where I thought if Chiefs had the calmness that I think comes with the brand of Kaizer Chiefs in the last third, maybe we could have ended up with a draw or win.”

The good thing for Johnson however is that he will have at least two weeks to drill his team as domestic football goes on a short break.

He believes his players need to be braver and mentally skilled to deal with the challenge of playing for a big team like Chiefs. 

“But that is football for you, today we are on the losing end. We go into the Fifa break and probably have to do a lot of work on our players. 

“If you play for Chiefs, it is a mental game. They employ you for your technical quality, but you have to be mentally at another level. 

“And we have to get them to that level whereby in some moments, when we have an opportunity to get a goal, we do it correctly.”

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Chiefs’ next game is on November 26 against another Soweto rival, Moroka Swallows in the league.