JOHANNESBURG – The end of season review on Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela is still quite inconclusive – for the moment.
While his boss Kaizer Motaung firmly backed him this time last year after Komphela could only manage a fifth place finish in the Absa Premiership and stumble at the final hurdle in two cup competitions – the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout – in his maiden campaign with the Glamour Boys, the Chiefs supremo didn’t commit on Thursday.
He did not suggest Komphela was the problem either following yet another barren season as Chiefs’ title hopes ended on Sunday afternoon with three league matches to spare.
There are also no cup final appearances to speak of this time around.
Amakhosi attempted to control the narrative on Thursday by inviting the press to a significant announcement of the club partnering with a medical aid scheme in MedHealth, but the timing seemed a bit off, especially given the overall mood from the fans about Komphela yet again being unable to get his hands on a major trophy.
Motaung indulged the press and fielded questions about the coach’s future.
“Let’s face it, Steve had a rough time in his first season, even though he went into two cup finals,” the Amakhosi chairman explained.
“Looking back again now, we did not do well in the cups and we were very shaky in the league at the beginning, but we regrouped along the way. For the moment, contractually Steve still has another season to go with us. We cannot overnight decide he must go because if we do that we are working against ourselves.
“If we had it in mind that he wouldn’t be here next season, we should have been working towards it by now. Chopping and changing coaches can sometimes hurt you badly.
“We are disappointed of course, but we still need to have a proper review of everything, and once we have done that, we will be able to see where things could have gone wrong.”
Chiefs face Polokwane City on Saturday, Platinum Stars on Wednesday and then bring the curtain down on the 2016/17 with a home game against current log leaders Bidvest Wits on May 27.
Amakhosi can, mathematically speaking, still finish as runners-up, but would need the teams above them – from fourth place upward – to capitulate and drop points.
If they finish in fifth place (again), in a season where it has already been confirmed that there will be no silverware, Komphela is likely to start the new term on the back foot if Motaung doesn’t send him packing.
The Chiefs boss argued that the coach had been given all the resources to succeed at the start of his second year with the club, although there has been a criticism that Motaung was not aggressive enough in the transfer market to give Komphela the competing edge against Wits and defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
“No. Steve got the resources he needed,” Motaung reasoned. “He was part of the exercise with most of the players brought in.
“Pitso (Mosimane, the Sundowns coach) obviously has more resources as he’s had a strong team for the last couple of seasons. They can play one player and leave the other one out at any given time.
“Wits were very smart, and they don’t go to the market. They target players out of contract. Unfortunately in South Africa, the market is skewed. A player could be worth R500 000 tonight and when somebody hears that Chiefs is interested, then they talk R5 million.
“We will look at the needs for the playing personnel, but it will be difficult where to look because of the prices.”