Chiefs coach Zwane on players with off-field problems: ‘Discipline is everything’
While suspended Dumisani Zuma’s name was not mentioned, Kaizer Chiefs caretaker co-coach Arthur Zwane had stern words for footballers with discipline issues.
Winger Zuma was suspended for a second time in six months by Chiefs this week pending a disciplinary committee (DC) hearing. This was after he scored coming on as a substitute in his first match in some time in Chiefs' 2-1 DStv Premiership defeat to Cape Town City at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
“Discipline is everything and I’ve always said to the players that discipline doesn’t only start on the field. It starts off the field,” Zwane said after Chiefs reversed a run of four defeats with a scrappy 1-0 win against Marumo Gallants at FNB Stadium on Tuesday night.
“You have to show dedication and perseverance because nothing comes easily in life and you could see it as we had to grind a result today [Tuesday].
“If you want to make it big in life you have to be disciplined. And discipline includes a lot of elements. You have to be tactically disciplined as a player on the field and in life in general.”
The Chiefs camp and fan base were rocked on Monday after the club announced that talented but wayward attacker Zuma was suspended for what Chiefs said was a transgression of its code of conduct.
Zuma had been suspended and put into rehabilitation after a DC in November last year after he was reportedly arrested for driving under the influence.
“When things are rosy for you, you must still keep your feet on the ground, be level-headed and show respect,” Zwane said.
“All those things play a huge role for one to be successful. Gone are those days where we beg players to play football. They have a choice.
The 48-year-old Zwane — who had a successful and prolonged playing career with Chiefs between 2000 and 2009, and previously clubs including Jomo Cosmos, Thembisa Classic and Orlando Pirates — said a player's lifestyle is crucial to their performance.
“If players are not going to have discipline [they’re going to have problems]. Not only Kaizer Chiefs players. A football career is a short one and that is why you have to be focused and disciplined.
“You have to show passion too, because there is no ways the game can love you if you don’t love it.
“You have to embrace this game and show a lot of commitment and respect for it. I’m telling you those are the things that will take you far as a player.
“If discipline starts from outside [the field] then that player can take instructions and listen to the coaches. Discipline outside starts with nutrition and the food you eat.
“You need to build that body to be in superb condition so that you give your best all the time. If players are told to eat a certain type of food and they don’t do it, that means they don’t take their football seriously.
“If you want to prolong your career you are going to have to be disciplined off the field. And then you will see that when you are given an opportunity to be on the field you will be able to last and run the 90 minutes.
“You will be fresh, if you sleep early, you show a lot of dedication and respect to other people.
“When we were playing we were not getting the salaries and support that today’s players are getting. If you look at Kaizer Chiefs in particular and what our marketing department is doing for the players, every season we have training to prepare them [for life off the field].
“We have media sessions with them. When they started implementing those things we [the previous generation of players] were about to quit, we were old already.
“These boys are going through those sessions every season as part of induction. They can’t tell us they will come here and not make it big. It boils down to one thing: discipline, more than anything else. If you are disciplined you will go far in life.”
Chiefs meet Mamelodi Sundowns next in their Premiership fixture at FNB Stadium on Sunday.
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