DURBAN - It's always about the process and the club for Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela, who remains optimistic about challenging for league and cup honours after the Amakhosi advanced to the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup with a 2-1 win over Stellenbosch FC in Durban at the weekend.
“We take confidence from this result that we are back again,” he said of the knockout win which came a week after they were humbled 3-1 by Orlando Pirates in the league.
“It is amazing that before the defeat last week we had not been losing, but it is a part of Chiefs that you respond immediately without too much pressure and go forward into the next game against AmaZulu. The positive is that you can now work without too much stress even though the pressure will always be there.”
The pressure to end a trophy drought since he was appointed three seasons ago is mounting. Nevertheless Komphela doesn’t view the national knockout competition as a tournament to prioritise over the Absa Premiership. The cliché of one game at a time remains the mantra.
“We will try to go to the semis, the final and possibly win it. We are not going to put ourselves under mental pressure. We are relaxed and will take it one step at a time. Let the players celebrate this now and we’ll wait for the draw on Thursday.”
Against First Division side Stellenbosch the AmaKhosi scored via Erick Mathoho and Leonardo Castro before the Cape outfit replied through Alan Robertson to make for a somewhat tense finish. The Chiefs’ backline stood resolute. It is their attack, however, that has failed to live up to expectations.
Komphela lamented that they should have converted at least three other opportunities that fell to Siphiwe Tshabalala and Bernard Parker. He saw positives in the Parker-Castro pairing.
“The partnership worked well - for the second goal Parker touched the ball on to Castro. As a coach you can even put Parker into No 10 or play two 10s if we want to. I thought they coped well and combined well.
“We could build from that. There were certain positives that we will go back and look and say ‘this is interesting’. I thought it worked well,” he elaborated.
His counterpart Steve Barker conceded that they could have been on the end of a “three or four nil hiding” and was particularly impressed with the Soweto giants’ defensive organisation.
“Now I see why your team has conceded the second least goals in the league. You are very organised and you know what you want to do at the back. I think (Daniel) Cardoso is a special player, for me one of your players of the season,” Barker said of the Chiefs central defender.
Now if only Komphela can get that attack to fire at full throttle it could offer a silver lining to the cloud that has enveloped his time at the club.