“I wish I could bring these remaining matches and put them in the dustbin,” said Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela yesterday.
Plenty of Amakhosi supporters share the same sentiments following a 2015/16 campaign that has gone from bad to worse with the club suffering defeats in two cup finals and surrendering their Absa Premiership title.
Komphela was responding to a question about his mindset ahead of tonight’s league encounter against Bloemfontein Celtic at FNB Stadium.
It looked as if Chiefs were over their terrible slump - in which they endured a winless run of eight games in all competitions - when they came from a goal down to beat relegation candidates University of Pretoria 2-1 a week ago, only to be beaten 3-1 by log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns three days later.
That result, which left Sundowns needing just four points from three matches to wrap up their championship pursuit, also highlighted the contrasting form between fourth-placed Chiefs and their likely Premier League successors this season.
Amakhosi trail the Brazilians by 18 points and will be fighting to finish third and ahead of rivals Orlando Pirates, who, it was announced yesterday, they will face in the Carling Black Label Cup pre-season tournament on July 30.
“To be honest, I have hit a stage where I say let this one go,” said Komphela. “I want to get done with this and start afresh. The energy that I have is on the next season.
“I am just praying and I wish I could bring these remaining matches and put them in the dustbin and move on because I have got great energy for the coming season.”
The upcoming campaign will be Komphela’s second at Chiefs and he knows he will be at the helm having received the backing of chairman Kaizer Motaung despite calls from fans, who strongly believe that the man poached from Maritzburg United to replace Stuart Baxter in June last year is an underachiever, he should be sacked.
“There’s a lot of logic that I would want to put across, but it comes across as a defensive mechanisms. If I were speaking on behalf of somebody else, then I would advance cases that are clear, logical and rational,” said Komphela. “But you can’t do that, especially if you are talking about yourself. I don’t think where we are is where we are supposed to be.
“There will be official pronouncements made regarding player movements because we have stakeholders and we have to give feedback to our supporters. The policy at Chiefs is that I am not looking (for new faces), but we are looking and we are guided by the success. We did not succeed this season.”
On Celtic, who beat Ajax Cape Town 5-0 on Sunday afternoon, and face Chiefs for the fourth time this season, Komphela said: “They play a great game, a very fast game that we have to be very careful about. I watched that match and it is no fluke. If you look back, Celtic beat Sundowns (ending the Brazilians’ 18-match unbeaten run in March) and they do get good results against big teams. We have to be highly focused against them.” - The Star