Steve Komphela's Kaizer Chiefs side suffered a 3-2 defeat to Cape Town City on Tuesday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
JOHANNESBURG - What’s Kaizer Motaung to do? The records are a bit sketchy, but the archives suggest not since the 1995/96 and 1996/97 seasons has Kaizer Chiefs gone two campaigns without a trophy. Not to jinx coach Steve Komphela, but it’s certainly looking like he is well on course to breaking that unwanted record.

Chiefs crashed out of the Nedbank Cup in the quarter-finals stage at the weekend, losing 5-3 on penalties to SuperSport United. With that defeat, Komphela, by his own admission, said that his side had given away an opportunity to win some silverware without needing any favours.

Regardless of yesterday’s result against Cape Town City in one of several top of the Absa Premiership table clashes around the country, Amakhosi simply do not have their fate in their own hands.

What’s Kaizer to do?

In hiring Komphela in June 2015 to replace Scotsman Stuart Baxter, who had won an impressive two league and cup doubles in three seasons, the Amakhosi supremo bucked the trend.

Komphela was the first South African - not to mention black - permanent coach since Trott Moloto in 1994.

Motaung was never really under any pressure to seek out a local to take the reins, but, perhaps through a personal conviction, he felt the need to acquire the services of one to continue the success.

He was also never expected to sack Komphela in his first year, in which Chiefs choked in two domestic cup finals and finished in fifth place on the league table, behind dark horses Platinum Stars and the now defunct Mpumalanga Black Aces.

Motaung instead fully backed the coach, arguing that Amakhosi were a team in transition following the departure of several key players and that Komphela needed time to build his own team.

Fair enough, but that didn’t stop supporters from demanding a trophy or two, which, as we now know, is yet to become a reality.

There were suggestions at the start of the season that Komphela would struggle to win anything given the quality, or lack thereof, brought in during the winter transfer season.

Chiefs mostly recruited free agents, which shouldn’t be frowned upon considering Bidvest Wits are strong favourites to clinch the championship with a side made up mostly of players who arrived without the Clever Boys spending a single cent on transfer fees. But it’s who Chiefs bought that’s up for debate here.

Komphela made things slightly worse when he insisted in an interview just before the season kicked off: “The new players were not my preference, but they fit the Chiefs way”.

Oh boy. Fast forward to just five league matches remaining with Amakhosi needing all the favours they can get to avoid going another campaign without a trophy and that statement suddenly becomes loaded.

Then again, Komphela might yet have all the luck in the world and have things his way. After all, the Premier League quite often produces dramatic results at this stage of the season - whether it’s at the top of the table or further down in the relegation quagmire.

What’s Kaizer to do?

Maybe have a strong black, excuse the pun, cup of coffee with his Orlando Pirates counterpart Irvin Khoza?

The “Iron Duke” very stubbornly ignored calls from his club supporters to give one Ruud Krol the boot after two seasons without a trophy, and then boom the Dutchman won the treble in his third year.

Food for thought.

The Star

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