Cape Town - As head coach of Kaizer Chiefs, Steve Komphela occupies the hottest seat in the PSL. But when the popular Soweto club hosts Cape Town City at the FNB Stadium on Tuesday (kick-off 7.30pm), the seat is about to get much, much hotter.
In short, with Komphela under severe pressure from the team’s demanding supporters, anything less than victory today may just spark management into action with regard to the coach’s position.
As it stands, Chiefs haven’t won a game in their last five outings - three draws and two defeats.
For an Amakhosi coach, a job where victory and success are expected, it hasn’t been enough. And, after last week’s 1-1 draw with SuperSport United, the Chiefs faithful on the terraces were already on the “Steve-must-go” bandwagon.
If Komphela wants to hang on to his job, and placate the club’s followers, then he’ll have to inspire his team to see off City on Tuesday night.
In contrast to Chiefs’ woes, the Capetonians are in rampant form. On a seven-game winning streak, they’ve stormed into second place on the PSL standings and, at the weekend, won through to the final of the Telkom Knockout. City are playing some fantastic football, be that at home or away, and they should be a real handful for the Soweto side on Tuesday night.
The good news for City, is that Lebogang Manyama has shaken off an injury and will be ready to play on Tuesday night.
The City captain and star man was stretchered off in the 66th minute during the weekend’s 4-1 Cup semi-final success over Free State Stars.
There had been concerns that Manyama would miss the Chiefs game, but the official word from City is that their inspirational captain has recovered.
He’s fit and well, and ready to terrorise Chiefs.
The other positive for City is the return from suspension of central defender Tshepo Gumede.
The reliable centre-back sat out the semi-final against Stars, with City coach Eric Tinkler handing Ghanaian Joseph Adjei a debut in the middle of the defence, alongside the solid Thamsanqa Mkhize.
Gumede, the former Platinum Stars and Orlando Pirates player, has been in top form for City all season, and he will definitely be back to anchor the Cape club’s rearguard against Amakhosi on Tuesday night.
“The game against Chiefs is an important one for us,” said Tinkler. “We have to put the result of the weekend out of our minds. Yes, we are in the Cup final, but we have two important away league games coming up (City also play Wits in Joburg on Friday).
“Chiefs are always a tough ask, a tough challenge. But we are getting them at a stage when they are not performing, when they are struggling to get results. I’m sure that my players will be motivated and we just have to be sure that we apply ourselves. The key is to go there and put up a good performance, like we did against Free State Stars at the weekend.”