Absa Premiership

Why Chiefs need to back Komphela

Steve Komphela (Supplied)
Steve Komphela (Supplied)

Cape Town - Two lost cup finals and eight points off the pace in the PSL title race - it has been a difficult start for Steve Komphela at Kaizer Chiefs. 

But, then again, was it ever going to be anything but? 

The biggest club in the country commands success, and its supporters have little time for anything else. 

Komphela is suffering a bit from the 'Sir Alex Ferguson' syndrome that plagued David Moyes at Manchester United.

Stuart Baxter had transformed Chiefs into a machine ... one that operated within a common philosophy that was embedded into the players. 

Baxter's emphasis on retaining possession and identifying the perfect moment to transition from defence to attack became the blueprint for the success that would follow, and the Glamour Boys went on to win the 2014/15 PSL season at a canter after flirting with the possibility of going through undefeated. 

When the Englishman left at the end of the season, there were big shoes to fill at Naturena. 

The answer came in the form of Komphela, with chairman Kaizer Motaung expressing his long-time admiration for the former Bafana Bafana captain. Motaung said at Komphela's unveiling that the time had come for Chiefs to go local, and that in Komphela he felt he had found somebody who could leave a legacy at the club. 

Now, less than half way through his first season at the helm, Komphela is already feeling the heat. 

Had one of the MTN8 final 1-0 loss to Ajax in September or Wednesday night's 3-1 Telkom Knockout final defeat to Sundowns gone Komphela's way, then he would be in a very different position right now. 

But that is how small the margins are, and he will know that more than anybody. 

Komphela is a man-manager. His players respect his honesty, his forthrightness and his emphasis on values. He supports his players wholeheartedly provided they pull their weight, he continually motivates that no one individual is more important than another and he is always grounded in both victory and defeat. 

That may not win you trophies, but what it does is promote an ethic that is befitting of the biggest club in the country. 

These players will play for Komphela ... of that there is no question. 

But all of the good intention in the world counts for little if you do not deliver results, and it hasn't quite clicked for Chiefs yet. 

They have lost just once in the league, but have drawn six times and go into Saturday's clash at Cape Town Stadium eight points behind Wits. 

While their defence has been solid, it is at the other end where they have battled to finish off teams. 

It appears that Komphela is seeking more patience from his side when they attack, and this can result in a frustrating time for supporters when nobody wants to take the responsibility of pulling the trigger. Passing the ball into the net looks great when it works, but when it doesn't then quality sides need to be able to force a goal by any means possible. 

It is in that department where Chiefs have had some trouble, but they remain very much a work in progress under Komphela.

A look at the current Maritzburg United situation is perhaps the biggest indicator of what Komphela is capable of.

Bottom of the log with one win all season and seeking their third coach of the campaign, the Team of Choice is staring down the barrel of relegation. But, last season, Komphela guided this same group of players to eighth place in the PSL - Maritzburg's best ever finish. 

He did that through making a modest squad believe that they could exchange blows with the best, and that mental shift combined with a sound tactical implementation turned Maritzburg into one of the country's most feared sides last season. 

But this is Chiefs, not Maritzburg. And here success is measured by trophies ... and nothing else.

Komphela has all of the right ingredients, but time will never be one of them, and it would be a shame if he was not given enough of that to get Chiefs cooking.

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