JOHANNESBURG - Pep Guardiola, who is unbeaten in the English Premier League this season after 22 games, has said he is more than happy to extend his stay at Manchester City, but needs to earn a new contract.
Say what now?
Yes, a man who is perhaps the top of the pile in terms of the best managers in world football told journalists recently that at the moment he doesn’t feel he has earned an improved offer to continue at the Etihad. The club has not won a trophy since he took over from title-winning Manuel Pellegrini prior to the start of the 2016/17 season, he reasoned.
“I will be here one more year, and after we will see. After that it depends if we win and I deserve to extend my contract. I am so happy here. I am so, so happy. But to extend the contracts at the big clubs you have to win, and if you don’t win you don’t deserve to continue. I want to win. I want to win,” was Guardiola’s reaction to a question asked about his future.
But this column is not about Guardiola, nor is it about Pellegrini. It’s actually about Steve Komphela, whose trophy drought can be compared to that of the City coach, albeit the circumstances are a little different.
You see, the fans of the English club would have no issues at this stage with Guardiola being handed an extension to his current contract, which expires in 2019. Chiefs supporters, on the other hand, it is safe to assume, would go absolutely mental.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start making comparisons between what the Catalan coach has it his disposal in terms of resources and players available, as opposed to his South African counterpart.
That would be missing the point. In more than two seasons at Chiefs, Komphela has not been able to win anything, yet it is still unclear whether he will sign a new contract or be allowed to look for a new job. It is unthinkable to some that the club is even considering offering him an extension, while others - and that would be in the minority - feel he deserves another campaign with a squad that is much stronger than the one they have currently.
Talk of Komphela staying on has resurfaced yet again because of the club’s recent January transfer window activity. Amakhosi have signed striker Leonardo Castro, and midfield playmakers Siphelele Ntshangase and Kabelo Mahlasela.
Their arrival, pundits have argued, has given Chiefs a boost in their fight for the remaining trophies this season - the league title and the Nedbank Cup.
It’s fair to say if Komphela wins one of them, the championship in particular, he would have earned a new deal at the club. But nothing is that clear cut in football. Ask Ruud Krol, the Dutch coach who was not asked to stay on beyond his three-years at rivals Orlando Pirates despite winning a treble in his final season.
If Guardiola, a serial winner from this stints with Barcelona and Bayern Munich before challenging himself again by going to City, says he does not feel he has earned a new contract at the Etihad, who then is Komphela to argue the contrary about his own situation?
You’ve got to win trophies to stay on at big clubs.