Former Kaizer Chiefs defender Fabian McCarthy has urged assistant coach Patrick Mabedi to find a solution for the club’s leaky defence.
McCarthy, who played with Mabedi as a centre back for Amakhosi for a number of seasons under the late Theodore “Ted” Dumitru, believes that Mabedi should be able to help the technical team come up with a strategy to strengthen the club’s defence, which has become their Achilles heel.
The already under pressure defence came under fire from fans after last week’s poor display against archrivals Orlando Pirates in a Telkom Knockout semifinal, suffering a 2-1 loss at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
They were accused of letting in goals that could have been easily prevented had the defence been alert and watertight.
“Mabedi, as part of the technical team and having played as a defender for the rest of his career, should know better,” said the retiree from Vryburg.
“Mabedi is always working with the boys. He should be able to help the coach and say what will work and what won’t.”
Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas has been chopping and changing the back four, specially the centre back position.
At first, the Italian coach preferred the Daniel Cardoso and Eric Mathoho combination, but Mathoho was dropped after a few games in favour of Siyabonga Ngezana.
“Chopping and changing is not going to help. They have to have a solution, specially at centre back. Chiefs have a number one goalkeeper in Itumeleng Khune, who has a good understanding and knows other players’ weaknesses and strengths,” said McCarthy.
He said Khune and the back four must work together as a defensive unit to avoid conceding unnecessary goals.
“They have conceded goals in almost every game, but I think they all come from minor mistakes that can be easily fixed. The longer they carry on the way they are, the longer it will take to fix these mistakes – and it might not be in time and could cost the club dearly.”
Solinas’ decision to stick with Cardoso has backfired in a number of games.
First, it was the Absa Premiership game against Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, where Cardoso fouled Jeremy Brockie inside the 18m area and Ricardo Nascimento levelled matters for Pitso Mosimane’s troops from the penalty kick.
In another game, against Bloemfontein Celtic, Cardoso cost his team two goals after the Free State side came from 2-0 down to level the match.
The former Stars player failed to stop the ball from reaching Menzi Masuku, who made no mistake and punished Amakhosi. Then it was Ndumiso Mabena who exposed him right at the end of the game.
Cardoso also scored an own goal against Baroka FC in Polokwane in August, where the game ended 1-1. This saw Chiefs go five league games without a win at the beginning of the season.
The 21-year-old Ngezana has played 15 games so far, while before yesterday’s round of matches Cardoso had played more games than any other Chiefs centre back, with 10 games in all competitions.
Another defender who’s favoured by Solinas is Mario Booysen, who has played eight games despite not being seen to be of the high standard required at Chiefs.
Despite having a bad season so far, McCarthy believes Chiefs can still come back strongly and win the league.