Steve Komphela will do the right thing and continue attempting to implement the type of football he believes Kaizer Chiefs need to play to become a winning combination again‚ rather than trying to protect his own job.
From the beginning of Komphela’s long-awaited first stint at a big club – the biggest of them all in South African football – the former Bafana Bafana captain has been on the edge and in a difficult position.
He had a tough act to follow in one-time Bafana mentor Stuart Baxter‚ whom Komphela assisted in the national technical team from 2004 to 2005 and who had won league and cup doubles with Chiefs in 2013 and 2015.
Baxter left for a reason – he felt the club would not rebuild an ageing squad to his satisfaction to continue winning with it.
Komphela‚ finally given a chance at a “big three” team‚ stepped into that environment.
After finishing fifth in the PSL in a trophy-less 2015-16‚ the coach‚ who has at times worked wonders at small clubs such as Free State Stars and Maritzburg United‚ is still negotiating a cliff-edge.
He continues to show passion and honesty‚ explaining how he will attempt to create a winning combination out of new signings‚ who have promise but still have not quite matched the headline acquisitions of heavyweight rivals Mamelodi Sundowns‚ Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits.
Komphela was asked if signings like including Sundowns right-back Ramahlwe Mphahlele‚ SuperSport United left-back Suibusiso Khumalo and the Chicken Inn pair of Mitchell Katsvairo and Edmore Chirambadare can suit his needs more than a squad he mostly inherited last season.
“Not my needs per se. Not my style of play per se. It’s looking at how Chiefs needs to play‚” the coach replied.
“It is only fair to say that a Chiefs team has to take the initiative. A Chiefs team has to be proactive. A Chiefs team cannot react.
“Now when I talk about ‘you are not proactive’‚ I mean you are too defensive. You are saying: ‘I’m giving you the initiative‚ opponent‚ I don’t care about the ball‚ I will sit without the ball and then come out on the counterattack.’
“Chiefs cannot afford that. For Chiefs‚ you have to take the initiative.
“But to dominate you have to get the ball. And to do that‚ your game model in defence must be right. Even in your attack‚ as you start your attack‚ you already prepare yourselves that if we lose the ball we’re going to be like this.
“Those things take time to implement. And it might not come out immediately. It might take three months‚ four months‚ a year. And in that year I might lose my job.
“But at least do what is right. The biggest fear with human beings is to be scared to lose your job.
“But listen‚ the joy of people is much more important than my losing my job.
“Nelson Mandela sacrificed his life for people to be at peace. Sacrifice your job for people to be at joy – that’s how I look at it.”
Komphela admitted Chiefs might have not quite matched such headline signings as Sibusiso Vilakazi to Sundowns‚ Cuthbert Malajila and Mogakolodi Ngele in the other direction to Wits‚ and Pirates’ acquisitions of Abbubaker Mobara and Riyaad Norodien from Ajax Cape Town.
“It’s a business model. I don’t think they [Chiefs’ rivals] have quite the same overall infrastructure we do. Our development is quite strong‚” Komphela said.
“And with the how football is currently played‚ with the speed that it is played at‚ the only fast people are the young ones.
“So it’s just common that you have to tilt your scales toward youth so that you have the energy.
“And I don’t think that we are at a disadvantage. We are OK.
“Our rivals are dealing with their issues in their own way. We are OK with how we are dealing with things.
“We are giving an opportunity to our kids here. Don’t be scared to play with youngsters – they will give you what you want.”
Chiefs have promoted last season’s top-scorer from the Diski Challenge reserve league‚ Emmanuel “Adebayor” Letlotlo‚ to their first team‚ and 19-year-old centreback Siyabonga Ngezana from the youth. They have signed 19-year-old striker Ryan Moon from Maritzburg.
Amakhosi meet Orlando Pirates in Saturday’s preseason Carling Black Label Cup at FNB Stadium.