JOHANNESBURG - Steve Komphela is using psychological warfare to get his Kaizer Chiefs players psyched up for their must-win Soweto Derby against Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium on Saturday .
Komphela has told his players to give Pirates what Chiefs get from the other 15 teams - heightened focus.
Amakhosi missed an opportunity to cut Mamelodi Sundowns’ lead at the summit to just three points when they drew goalless with Bloemfontein Celtic last Saturday.
The Buccaneers made the most of Sundowns’ slip, jumping from fifth place to second with just four points separating them and the Brazilians. Pirates and Chiefs’ involvement in the league race has added extra spice to an already big match that consistently fills the biggest stadium in the continent.
“A plus in this, which I always say to the players, when people hear about this fixture they immediately go with a marker to say that we are playing Chiefs here or we are playing Pirates here,” Komphela said.
“The level of focus for players when they play against Kaizer Chiefs is so heightened, coaches don’t have too many problems in selecting the playing personnel. They would want to play with broken legs because they want to play this important match.
"Now I am saying to our players, everybody else looks at Chiefs matches like that (so we must return the favour against (Pirates).”
Komphela continued, “This is the same way we are looking at the Pirates match because it is big. The preparations you go through leading up to the match against Pirates should be the way you prepare consistently because all the other 15 teams prepare like that against us.
"It is a big week, but I have to be careful because what are you saying about the other weeks? One has to be careful in terms of how you craft your words. But it is an important week because of all the activities, it is complex and one has to adjust and adapt.
"I have been here for a long time to know that this is going to happen so you prepare yourself. But not forgetting the main business of XI v XI on the day.”
Chiefs go into their match as an underdog of some sort. The Buccaneers have momentum after coming from behind to beat the Chilli Boys 4-2.
Pirates possesses a more aggressive attack which knows how to turn it on when they need to. But Chiefs’ advantage is that they have worked together as a unit longer than the Buccaneers who are under new management.
Komphela spoke about the Celtic draw as if the team lost. In the greater scheme of things Chiefs did lose because they are still two matches away from catching up with the pacesetters instead of making it one game with a three-point gap.
“You would then want them to respond (after dropping points against Celtic),” Komphela said. “This could be a plus in a way (that we have to react) even though we know it’s not a plus in terms of results. But you could come up from this and drive them to go forward by saying that listen, we have to respond and bounce back. It is a reality that we missed out on an opportunity to close the gap by three points.”