DURBAN – Kaizer Chiefs boss Steve Komphela said it was a question of “finding the right chemistry” in explaining the reasons behind leaving senior players Mulomowandau Mathoho and Siphiwe Tshabalala out of the starting line-up against AmaZulu.
Amakhosi and Usuthu played out to a 0-0 stalemate at King Zwelithini Stadium on Wednesday night in the much anticipated encounter.
Komphela benched Tshabalala and the out-of-form Mathoho.
The Chiefs coach handed Zimbabwean defender Teenage Hadebe his debut after an injury kept him out of action for a while.
He played alongside Siyabonga Ngezana and Daniel Cardoso at the heart of the defence against Usuthu.
“We know the quality Tower has and Ngezana as well. Whenever you play three centre-backs, it is a question of finding the right chemistry and mixture where you have two of them who can man-mark and who are good at marking. Hadebe is good, Tower is good and Siya is good.
“The only difference between Tower and Hadebe is that Hadebe uses the left foot, I think he passed the test well. He had a good match in my opinion. Dealt with a lot of threats. Played comfortable with the left foot,” Komphela stated.
Chiefs kept yet another clean-sheet yesterday, which makes it five in 11 league outings.
“Tower again, coming from Senegal, they had a long trip. Even if you pick up Shabba, he went in second half. With Itu (Itumeleng Khune), because he is a goalkeeper, we don’t expect him to have spent too much energy, even though the fatigue is there. But you are trying to manage your players. I’m happy that Hadebe came through nicely,” Komphela explained.
Shabba and Mathoho played for Chiefs on Saturday when they lost 1-0 to Bidvest Wits in the semi-final of the Telkom Knockout.
The duo went with Bafana Bafana to Senegal in the last World Cup qualifier.
“I thought the match was okay under the conditions. As we said at the beginning of the match, we made the officials aware that it a wet pitch – there’s going to be a lot of slipping and skidding, and we were hoping that the players don’t look like they are reckless in their duties, and it came out exactly like that.
“One has to consider that we were facing an AmaZulu team that played a good pressing game, they did not want to give us space. We tried to get them to create space, and it was a bit difficult,” Komphela explained.
Chiefs have now collected 15 points after 11 matches. They have drawn six, won three and lost two.
“First half, they did better. They missed a penalty and we were lucky to survive, and congratulations again must go to Itu.
“He read the situation, stood his ground and made the save. I thought we have a couple of chances. We should have won the match. I thought we were desperate in the final third,” Komphela said.