Chiefs have been in a rebuilding phase since the start of the 2022/23 season, with Zwane tasked with creating a team capable of challenging for titles. The addition of Maluleke has helped to improve the players’ athleticism on the field, with the former national team coach using his experience to good effect.
Zwane believes that Maluleke has had a significant impact on the team’s fitness levels and that Billiat’s improvement is a testament to his work. Before sustaining a season-ending groin injury, the Zimbabwean forward had already shown signs of increased fitness levels.
“By far, [the fitness of Chiefs has improved]. Just that this is not the right platform for me to release the stats,” said Zwane. “But when we check the stats, the gap is, I will give you one example. At the beginning of the season, Khama Billiat covered 40 minutes; he covered the distance that he used to cover in 90 minutes.”
“So it tells you what has been the problem in the past, and we had to work on that. And improve the team, and find ways in terms of the identity as well.”
While the rebuilding process is ongoing, Zwane is happy with the progress made so far, with Maluleke playing an integral role in improving the team’s fitness levels. The head coach is also aware that it will take time for the team to gel, given the diverse backgrounds and mindsets of the players.
“In terms of finding the balance, in terms of also getting the right identity. So we understand, and unfortunately, it also frustrates us,” said Zwane.
Chiefs fans will be hoping that the team can continue to improve under the guidance of Maluleke and Zwane, with the ultimate goal being to challenge for major titles once again.