JOHANNESBURG - Seeing as it’s out in the open that Steve Komphela is in the final few months of his contract at Kaizer Chiefs, wannabe Amakhosi coaches have started circling around Naturena.
For the first time on Wednesday, the incumbent to that hot seat was asked how he was handling the rumours. Is he distracted or focusing on the job at hand?
“Listen, there is nothing wrong with wanting to work at Chiefs,” said Komphela, speaking at a press conference ahead of Saturday night’s Nedbank Cup quarterfinal clash against Baroka FC at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
“But sometimes it just baffles when a colleague makes declarations that are tempting to respond to. My parents, however, taught me to refrain - if you feel what you are going to say is negative, you better keep your mouth zipped.”
Indeed Komphela has withheld commenting on reports linking Free State Stars coach Luc Eymael to his job at Chiefs. And more recently, Township Rollers equal Nikola Kavazovic, buoyed by guiding the Botswana side into the CAF Champions League group stages for the first time in the club and the country’s history, expressed an interest in the Amakhosi gig.
“Just a warning to my colleagues, be careful what you wish for because you might get it,” said Komphela, “The Chinese proverb says leadership must be given, not demanded. Anybody who goes for power and demands power must be careful how power might handle them. Power is not taken.”
To be fair to Eymael, the Belgian has not uttered a word about the possibility of succeeding Komphela, who has not been able to win a trophy in more than two years at Chiefs and is desperately hoping he will pick up the Nedbank Cup this season.
"We are looking forward to the match. This is the last competition besides the Premiership, so we have to win it. We are looking forward to playing in PE and making our supporters happy" - Coach Komphela #NedbankCup #KCOneTeam pic.twitter.com/xbwTGsGmLu
The Stars coach has in fact stressed over and over again that his commitment is to helping the Bethlehem side finish in the top eight - something they have not been able to do in five seasons.
If Eymael has spoken about his desire to go to Chiefs, it’s not been in public.
“I might just dust off the table and tell his employers that this guy (the coaches campaigning for the Amakhosi job) is not loyal, but a hypocrite, a mercenary. It’s a statement to the employer of that employee, who lacks insight and understanding in that sometimes staying quiet and intelligent, respecting (others), saves you a lot,” Komphela continued.
“All of this questions your integrity as a coach, that whilst holding a post, you are busy cutting somebody’s chair. What you do to others, there’s a possibility it will happen to you. Do unto others as you want them to do unto you, that’s not me, it’s the Bible.”
Komphela will have to do more though to silence his detractors in the few months he supposedly has left at Chiefs given that he is yet to agree to a contract extension.
“Those who are cynics will say all is lost and maybe we have just the Nedbank Cup to give our people something,” he said when asked whether he thought Chiefs could still win a trophy under his tutelage. “And those who are optimists will say we are still chasing on all of fronts, even though realistically we have a lot of ground to make up on the league title.”
Chiefs are currently in fifth place on the Absa Premiership table and trail leaders Mamelodi Sundowns by seven points with only six games to go. But Sundowns have a game in hand.
The cynics have said Komphela needs divine intervention to save his job - music to the ears of those who consider themselves likely successors.