COMMENT: Is Nasreddine Nabi’s ‘helicopter football’ the right fit for Kaizer Chiefs?

Outgoing AS FAR Rabat head coach Nasreddine Nabi has confirmed he’s held talks with Kaizer Chiefs’ hierarchy to take over at the Soweto giants. Photo: @ASFAR_Officiel on X

Outgoing AS FAR Rabat head coach Nasreddine Nabi has confirmed he’s held talks with Kaizer Chiefs’ hierarchy to take over at the Soweto giants. Photo: @ASFAR_Officiel on X

Published Jun 23, 2024


Tunisian Nasreddine Nabi is set to be announced as the new head coach of Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs.

According to reports earlier this week, Nabi has already put pen to paper. The only thing left now is for the club to make the appointment official.

Naturally, the news has been greeted well by Kaizer Chiefs supporters, who are desperate to see their club winning things again.

Chiefs’ last trophy came when they won the PSL title in the 2014/15 season, meaning they have gone nine whole years without any silverware. For a club that calls themselves the biggest in the country, that’s just not good enough.

Style of football a bone of contention

While many fans have welcomed the news about Nabi, comments on the Tunisian by former Orlando Pirates assistant coach Fadlu Davids have not been greeted well. While Davids was full of praise for Nabi, it was his preferred style of football that will give Kaizer Chiefs fans heart palpitations.

According to Davids, who is the assistant of Raja Casablanca, Nabi prefers a direct style of football. That was also the style under Stuart Baxter, who was in charge when they won their last trophies, and Ernst Middendorp.

“His teams are more direct in terms of going forward and scoring goals. They were the highest scoring team in the league, but most of their goals came through set pieces and penalties,” Davids said on Radio 2000 during the week.

“They were a little bit more direct in their approach compared to our style that we played this season but very effective in getting the results. You can expect a team that moves forward and scores goals.

“On set pieces, they will be a big threat. I think it is similar to the [Ernst] Middendorp style during the season where they (Chiefs) missed out on winning the league. They scored a lot of goals through set pieces and I think you will see a similar type of football that is result-driven by scoring a lot of goals and winning matches.”

Under Middendorp, the club looked to have returned to winning ways. During the 2019/20 season, Chiefs were cruising towards a first league title in five years when everything was brought to an abrupt halt by Covid-19. When the league resumed, they were unable to keep the momentum going and they were painfully pipped to the finish line by Pitso Mosimane’s Mamelodi Sundowns.

While they were winning, Kaizer Chiefs’ supporters were happy. But whenever things weren’t working out, the same fans turned on Middendorp for his direct style of football. They called it “helicopter football” and they absolutely hated it.

When the German left, club bosses went out of their way to change the style of football played by Kaizer Chiefs. Unfortunately, that’s not gone according to plan, and every coach hired by the club since Middendorp left has not been successful.

For Nabi to bring a style of football that is hated by fans is a risky move. When things go wrong, things will turn sour quickly, and the fans will turn on the team and the coach. If they go right, the mighty Amakhosi might just find themselves back among the trophies.

The big question will be whether the club and their vocal fans will have the patience to allow the coach to make mistakes and grow into his role, or will the usual complaints about “helicopter football” turn another season into a farce.

IOL Sport