Komphela tug-of-war

2014-05-14 00:00

CONFUSION reigned supreme yesterday as social media and online football publications were moving back and forth over Maritzburg United coach Steve Komphela’s potential move to newly promoted Chippa United.

Yesterday morning, Chippa chairperson Chippa Mpengesi had been quoted as saying that he had officially confirmed Komphela’s services, and that he had signed a two-and-a-half year deal with the club.

Social media and online picked up on this, but the reaction from Maritzburg was one of defiance, with chairperson Farouk Kadodia rubbishing the claims, saying that Komphela was still United’s manager.

By mid-afternoon, a stand-off resembling a Jesse James shootout had ensued, with the one man that everybody wanted to hear from remaining silent.

Komphela was unreachable all day, but The Witness did learn that a meeting between him and Kadodia took place at the Maritzburg United offices yesterday afternoon.

The result of that meeting didn’t really solve much, and left Kadodia feeling “50/50” about the chance of Komphela staying at Harry Gwala Stadium.

An offer of gargantuan proportions has come Komphela’s way, but it is his agent — Tim Sukazi — who is doing the negotiating with Chippa, says Kadodia.

Kadodia sat with Sukazi on Monday night, and was informed that Komphela had not met with Mpengesi himself. In a desperate attempt to keep his man, Kadodia sweetened Komphela’s package, but it still “can’t compete” with that of Chippa.

“Chippa are making some crazy offers,” acknowledged Kadodia. “We told him [Komphela] that we wanted him to stay and asked that he think seriously about his future, but we also told him that we would accept whatever his decision is.”

According to Kadodia, the ball is now in Komphela’s court.

“Steve is now contemplating his future and waiting for advice from his agent on the credibility of the offer,” said Kadodia.

Earlier, Kadodia had launched a scathing attack on the country’s football media personnel for their role in what has been a dramatic 48 hours for Komphela and United.

“[Because] you can’t get Steve and now you are looking for me to make up a story for you,” Kadodia was quoted as saying on SuperSport and Sport24.

“I have no idea; you speak to Steve about this.

“Steve has denied that to me. You spoke to Chippa and they gave you their story, now you should speak to Steve and ask for his story,” added Kadodia.

But by the end of yesterday, things were clearer.

Chippa are relocating to Port Elizabeth next season in a move that will see them play at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, and the financial backing from the Eastern Cape government that accompanies that move is thought to be part of the reason that Chippa are able to offer Komphela such a lucrative contract.

The irony cannot be escaped. Two years ago, it was United who were being targeted by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality as potential tenants at the 2010 World Cup venue, but that deal went south and the Team of Choice pledged their future to Maritzburg.

Kadodia said that he would wait for an outcome before tackling the daunting prospect of finding a replacement for the man who resurrected United’s season.

Sukazi was unavailable for comment, while Chippa’s marketing and media manager Luthando Zibeko could not confirm the claims that were published by his boss. “We still cannot confirm any­thing, but we will be holding a press conference later this week,” he said.

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