Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela has had to stay calm in as he looks to improve things at the club. Photo:
Steve Komphela admits that it’s been a difficult few weeks at Kaizer Chiefs  the heavy defeat to arch rivals Orlando Pirates in the league just days after dropping crucial points in the title race to Bloemfontein Celtic and experiencing déjà vu following another stalemate when AmaZulu visited FNB Stadium before the international break.

It’s in that game where the perception that Amakhosi players had downed tools emanated, such was their lacklustre performance.

Komphela has also had to respond to comments made by his counterparts elsewhere who have given the impression that they would do a better job at Naturena.

“You can imagine the effects of a loss in any other team environment, so we have to always win because a draw is a huge set back,” the coach said this week ahead of the Glamour Boys facing bogey side Baroka FC in the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup in Port Elizabeth tonight.

Perhaps unintentionally, Komphela, who is yet to win a trophy in more than two years at the club, also compared his hardships at Chiefs to that of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

“There is one thing that Arsene Wenger mentioned about going through a tough time,” he explained, “that when you are going through hell, you have to look at your family and those around you. Everything you read about Arsenal and his players was just too negative and poisonous, so you narrow your focus and be objective.”

Komphela has been trying to find positives throughout his tenure at Chiefs, and like Wenger, signs calling for his sacking have become a constant feature at the stadiums.

“The responsibility of any leader, whether it is a huge setback or whatever, is to quickly dust yourself down. We have a thermostat and a thermometer - the one measures your temperature and the other determines the temperature. As coaches we have to be thermostats, but at the same time you must determine the temperature and not only measure. You feel that inside you are boiling, but you have to stay calm and tell your players its okay and point to the positives.”

The 3-1 loss to Pirates in the Absa Premiership earlier this month seems to have done more harm than was anticipated. It was the first time Chiefs conceded three goals all season and their arch rivals not only won bragging rights, but they also emerged as favourites to chase log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns all the way to the final day of the season for the championship.

Sandwiched in between their topsy-turvy league run was the 2-1 victory over Stellenbosch FC to progress to the last eight of the Nedbank Cup, their only realistic opportunity to get their hands on some silverware this season and under Komphela, whose contract runs out at the end of it.

Komphela has promised to attack Baroka to ensure passage to the semi-finals: “That is the nature of a knockout match. When you play a league game there are a whole lot of dynamics, but in a competition like this, you just need to win, go for the jugular.

“Baroka are a threat, but you have to go out there and make it a point to win it. We need positive energy from the supporters because we know the last time we played in PE we lost to Chippa United by making some costly errors.”


Saturday Star

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