DURBAN – Despite a huge outcry in the football fraternity about the lack of marquee signings at Kaizer Chiefs during Steve Komphela’s tenure, football manager Bobby Motaung stated that there was no intention of setting up the beleaguered coach for failure.
Komphela resigned with immediate effect on Saturday night after his side were humiliated by Free State Stars at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban in the Nedbank Cup semi-final.
Harris Tchilimbou broke the hearts of Chiefs fans with a well-taken brace to propel Stars to their first final in 24 years.
Motaung made it clear that they never set up Komphela to fail. The former Bafana Bafana captain became the first local coach for Amakhosi in the Premier Soccer League era.
“I think we must take responsibility and honour up in terms of accepting the facts. We as Kaizer Chiefs we’ve always honoured our obligations and plans. We always believed that Steve Komphela coming to Chiefs was to empower him, not to destroy him or set him up,” Motaung said.
“I think anyone sensible and anyone who knows football, Steve has done a great job for Kaizer Chiefs. He has built the team, and unfortunately when it is not meant to be, it is not meant to be for you on the day.”
Under Komphela, flop players like Michelle Katsvairo, Keagan Buchanan, Lewis Macha, Sula Matovu, Ovidy Karuru, Bongani Ndulula, Siphelele Mthembu, Edward Manqele, Ennocent Mkhabela and Edmore Chiramadare were signed.
Only in his last season did Chiefs buy quality players like Siphelele Ntshangase, Leonardo Castro and Kabelo Mahlasela.
“I think it is the first time I come to the post-match conference. That’s why some of you guys are smiling. The reality check and practicality talks to us. We issued a statement a week ago as management, and we’ve held a session with players and technical staff through myself and the chairman,” Motaung said.
“The discussions were not more about the coach leaving or the coach being fired or anything, but were of reality checks in terms of our performances and challenges that we faced with.
“Like the coach as said, there’s got to be reality. The fact that people are not safe, players are not safe, the coach is not safe, I’m not safe, but I’m safe. God is good for me. I will always be safe.”
Although Chiefs signed a lot of average players under Komphela, there were other decent signings like Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Siyanda Xulu, who failed to command regular starting berths at Amakhosi.
Under Stuart Baxter, Chiefs signed the likes Tsepo Masilela, Morgan Gould, Siboniso Gaxa, Knowledge Musona and Kingston Nkhatha.
Chiefs fans threw objects and stormed on to the pitch, but the players escaped in time on Saturday night. The spectators also damaged the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
“We don’t condone this behaviour, it is unacceptable. Everybody knows that it is unacceptable. It is not for me to say they are hooligans or what. It is just the frustration of our supporters, but the behaviour is not unacceptable,” said Motaung.
“It is for their own safety, and that’s why the decision has been made today (for Komphela to step down). We had to make a call and the coach had to make the call.
“We are not enemies and he is not aggrieved, but it is only the situation that prompted us to make the call immediately.
“Obviously there are going to be announcements at a later stage. Unfortunately, we have to let it go now. We will make a proper announcement at the press conference.”
Chiefs failed to win a trophy under Komphela in three seasons.
Current assistant coach Patrick Mabedi is expected to take over for the last three matches against Lamontville Golden Arrows, Maritzburg United and Ajax Cape Town.