Dominic Isaacs has spoken about the weight of the Kaizer Chiefs jersey ahead of a much anticipated Soweto Derby, and what it takes to represent Amakhosi adequately.
This will be the first Soweto Derby since the return to stadiums after the lockdown, due to Covid-19. The tickets have already been sold out, and with this an increase of anxiety will heap even more pressure on the shoulders of the Amakhosi players.
“You see when you go to Chiefs, from the outside it’s a nice feeling. But when you don that Chiefs jersey that hatred is on top of you, it’s on your shoulders,” Dominic Isaacs told This Is Football. Africa.
“One half of the country supports Chiefs, the rest hate Chiefs. All of that you need to consider, when I talk to people I tell them you need to be strong to be at Chiefs, I don’t mean you need to be physically strong, you need to be mentally strong. You need to be prepared to carry the team, to carry everybody’s hopes, half of the country’s hopes.”
Coming off an MTN 8 semi-final defeat to AmaZulu, and bearing in mind that your great rivals just knocked out the league champions of the very same competition, a big response will be needed. That is not going to be easy against an in-form Orlando Pirates outfit. Especially when Chiefs are still trying to find their feet under the Arthur Zwane led era.
“If you sign for Chiefs, and you look at the back page of the contract, where the figures are, and you forget that you still need to play, that is where you will have a problem,” Isaacs continued.
“Certainly you know that they will give you a fantastic contract, but you need to graft, you need to work, you need to sacrifice. Chiefs is a team that will always play on the front foot, they will always attack and there will always be spaces. So in the transition, you need to be alert and organised. On top of your game for each and every game. You have to be strong in the one on one situations, show character and all of that. No excuses, ‘Hey jy moet werk, jy moet hard werk’, plain and simple.”
The Soweto Derby will answer a lot of questions on whether or not the players can handle what comes with pulling on that Black and Gold jersey. An example that Isaacs points out is one that shows where the problem might be, in that the senior players need to step up, so that they can play a leading role in calming the rest of the team down.
“For example, look at Thulani Hlatswayo, fantastic player, when he went to Pirates he wasn’t the Thulani we knew, because of the pressure, a different type of pressure,” added the former Chiefs defender.
“You need to dig deep to play at Chiefs. I don’t see much wrong with Arthur Zwane’s approach. He attacks and he has got players that can attack. I just expect a little more from the Dolly’s, from the Billiat’s. Yusuf Maart just came in, you can’t give Yusuf Maart and George Matlou so much responsibility to create, to play and to score, and to defend, that’s too much. When are they gonna take the pressure off the newcomers? The guys up front should be scoring goals, so that the others can enjoy the game so to speak. When the goals are not coming, whose department is that? It’s the strikers department. Simple.”