JOHANNESBURG – With the Soweto Derby defeat against Orlando Pirates last weekend threatening to expose the Kaizer Chiefs line-up as somewhat static, coach Steve Komphela said yesterday there was a temptation to switch things up in their Nedbank Cup last 16 tie when they host Stellenbosch FC.
The Amakhosi coach has seldom chopped and changed his team this season, especially in defence - and that they were the side with the best defensive record in the Absa Premiership prior to losing 3-1 to Pirates perhaps gave him confidence that his formula was working.
Maybe Chiefs need fresh ideas tomorrow night at the Moses Mabhida Stadium against the National First Division outfit.
“You are right, there could be some opportunity (to experiment), but do you have that luxury?” asked Komphela.
“Let’s say you reshuffle too much, which is what happened at Liverpool with (Jürgen) Klopp. He went in, reshuffled the team, played well and was on the verge of winning that match (the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against Porto having won the first leg 5-0), but then drew it.
“He had to face music. So it’s a question of do I freshen up the team, give an opportunity to others? Brilliant idea, but if it backfires you have to account.”
One of the suggestions that will come up regarding some sort of rotation policy at Chiefs will again be about the goalkeeping department, where captain Itumeleng Khune has been first choice, while Brilliant Khuzwayo has only watched from the bench or came in when the No 1 is injured.
“It would be nice that everyone gets a chance,” said Komphela.
Chiefs conceded three goals for the first time this season when they were beaten by the Buccaneers in a league match that almost ruled Amakhosi out of the title race with seven games remaining.
But the coach argued that there was no need for drastic changes against Stellenbosch in the Nedbank Cup, although he needed a reaction from his players in what is now the only realistic chance to win a trophy in this campaign.
“I think one has to be very objective when you look at the setback we suffered,” Komphela explained.“ We made three crucial errors and apart from that there is honestly very little you can point at - with respect to Orlando Pirates.”
He said in his reflections post the derby he realised there wasn’t more he could have asked of his players.
“Apart from those three mistakes, I really have to say there is nothing we could have done better. You can check and check. But then again, where there are no results, there is no justice, that’s the name of the game because football is results orientated,” Komphela said.
“There are so many pluses that you see and you ask yourself how they could be overshadowed by results. Sometimes there are also a lot of negatives and they are hidden by (positive) results. It shows that results are everything in football. We suffered a setback, but we have to put the best team forward and win the match.”
Much of the talk around Komphela remains his future with the club seeing that he is in the final months of his three-year contract - and he is still to win any silverware.
But he said he continues to be calm.
“To be honest, I am only under pressure when the question is asked because my focus is completely different. Maybe I might be abnormal. Chiefs need to win a trophy for the fans, not for the coach,” he said.