Steve Komphela’s will want nothing less than a win from his team in their Nedbank Cup encounter. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Such is the pressure to win a trophy at Kaizer Chiefs that coach Steve Komphela could find it impossible to rotate players for this afternoon’s Nedbank Cup tie against Golden Arrows at FNB Stadium.

Will goalkeeper Brilliant Khuzwayo get the nod ahead of first-choice Itumeleng Khune, for instance?

“Under normal circumstance you will say let everybody get a run,” says Komphela. “But you must have a squad that has the same quality, which I think at Chiefs we do have. And again we have to say the Premiership is well within reach, with a difference of seven points  a win, and with (log leaders) Sundowns dropping points, then it’s four. So you don’t want to have regrets by focusing on one competition.

“We have to win both the league matches and knockout matches, but it is nice sometimes to give everybody a run and a feel so that you can maintain the same level of harmony.”

It would appear as though rotation is a luxury the Chiefs coach cannot afford at the moment given that he has not been able to win any silverware since arriving at the club in 2015 to replace a rather successful Stuart Baxter, who managed to win two championships and another two knockout competitions in three years.

A tough act to follow  and Komphela has not been able to break away from that comparison.

“I would argue that in the league we have been doing that (rotation). It is only here and there where you could say Itu had been more consistent that Brilliant. We have had players coming in and out. We have been managing it that way,” he argues.

Another poser for the coach is whether midfielder Siphelele Ntshangase and striker Leonardo Castro, two January transfer window arrivals, will finally get to make their full debuts this afternoon.

But facing a top division side in contrast to a lower league outfit, as is the case for some of the Premier League clubs at this stage of the Cup, has also played some part in leaving Komphela with a selection conundrum.

“With respect to the game, it is true. But we are also up against our league competitors, who are extremely talented as well.

“Even if you were to play a Komphela XI from the lower division, you would still be very careful to go in there with a reasonable or strong team, saying if there is a need, you’ve got all your ammunition.

“But yes, it is a pity we are facing Arrows. We have to win the Cup whether we like it or not,” the Amakhosi mentor explains.

“It is worse for me because I have been under a cloud, regardless of whether I have been to cup finals or not. Truth be told, as coaches we are judged by winning trophies.

“I don’t want to overburden my players because we all know how important it is to win trophies at Chiefs. You don’t want to transfer your concerns to other people in case it swallows them. We don’t want everyone to panic.

“f I am meant to win a trophy here, it will happen.”


Sunday Independent

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