Orlando Pirates assistant coach Rulani Mokwena has fired the first salvo at rivals Kaizer Chiefs ahead of Saturday’s Soweto derby, insinuating that there was a lack of technical expertise on the Amakhosi bench.
Addressing the media after the Buccaneers’ open training session on Monday, Mokwena insisted that letting go of Steve Komphela was a “big loss” for Chiefs.
“From a technical perspective, honestly without sounding biased to probably my allegiance to Steve, but having lost [him] is, in my opinion, a big loss for Chiefs,” the young mentor told journalists at Pirates’ training grounds at the Rand Stadium.
Mokwena and Komphela came a long way from their days at the now defunct Platinum Stars.
“Without taking anything away from the current head coach [Giovanni Solinas] but I do think that [with] Steve you can see with regards to how they played last season and this season. You can see from the minutious of details… you can see the influence of the loss that has taken place.”
“The type of a leader he is, the tactical acumen that he possesses. I think in that regard if you compare the previous team to this, and from an organisational perspective, you can clearly see the lack of a coach of that calibre,” added Mokwena, in a statement some quarters deemed as mind games ahead of the epic clash at FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
“Be that as it may, in losing from a technical leadership perspective, I think technically with regards to the personnel, they [Chiefs] made huge strides and they have improved. The acquisitions that they have made, the players they have brought in have probably gone on to cover for the lack of technical expertise on the bench, [those] that were there last season.”
Some of the players Chiefs lured in the new season include former Mamelodi Sundowns star Khama Billiat, Lebogang Manyama, Mario Booysen and Ugandan international Godfrey Walusimbi.
“The players they have brought in this season have taken the technical and the qualitative perspective with regards to the playing personal. Not to sound as if the players that were there last season were not as good as the players that are currently there.
“But obviously [and] you’ve heard Solinas saying this numerous times – you bring Khama, Manyama to Chiefs, [Leonardo] Castro is [also] there. You’ve made huge strides with regards to improving the team from a qualitative perspective and not just to improve the depth or the numbers but you’re bringing top players that are able to influence the results.”