JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela believes that the small margin of points separating teams in the Absa Premiership standings is a sign of strong competition.
This season has been characterised by inconsistency which has led to a high number of stalemates with just five teams with more wins than draws.
Nine points separate second-placed Orlando Pirates with the reigning champions Bidvest Wits who are rooted at the bottom.
Even though Amakhosi have won one match in their last six games, they sit in third place while Orlando Pirates, who are above them, have won one game in their last nine.
“If the league is strong in a fairly balanced way, it is going to be inconsistent to individuals because each one of us possesses almost a similar strength,” Komphela said.
“If one team was stronger than everyone, they would be more consistent than the rest. Ordinarily the gap should be a bit bigger (between the team at the bottom and the one at the summit).
“I don’t know whether the margin of relegation (and champions) is going to be higher than 30 because if you look at how tight it is (it might not be the case).
“The teams at the bottom are not teams you would say that by looking at things, they could be there. There are teams that you look at and you are like, how come they are there?
“That gives you an indication that they are still going to collect points, and when they do, the points that will collected by the team that will be relegated could be high. If your relegation mark goes higher, that means the level of competition is stiff.”
Mamelodi Sundowns have been slightly more consistent, and are five points clear at the summit even though they have two games in hand.
The Tshwane giants have won five of their last six matches and conceded just one goal in that run.
But Komphela doesn’t believe that spell makes the Chloorkop side favourites to add to their record seven league titles in the PSLera that started in 1996.
“If you asked the same question (in reverse) when they had gone through a patch where they were not winning, would you had said Sundowns are relegation candidates? No!
“The same should apply now in terms of looking at it in a positive light (now that they are on a good run). There’s still a long way to go."
Amakhosi will reach the halfway mark of the 30-match league race tonight in their clash with Ajax Cape Town at Moses Mabhida Stadium still searching for the first win at home.
Despite that, Chiefs are among the leading pack with Pirates and Sundowns above them.
Komphela believes that the big three clubs in the country – Chiefs, Pirates and Sundowns – doing well bodes well for the national team that hasn’t qualified for the World Cup through the pitch since the 2002 edition.
“I am saying this with utmost respect to the rest of the other teams,” Komphela said.
“In the past, whenever you’ve had a very strong Bafana, you would have had one Steve Komphela from Free State Stars, but the rest of the players who made up the team just after 1992 when we started building came from Sundowns, Pirates and Chiefs.
“There would be an exception of a Roger Links, who came from wherever.
“If you have your top club teams doing well, it will definitely rub off on the national team because they are used to the different pressures.
“The pressure at Chiefs is different from the pressure at another team.
“Teams that are on top of the log play international football most of the time, that international experience and exposure helps them. Indirectly, yes it will benefit Bafana.”