JOHANNESBURG - Steve Komphela wasn’t convincing in his postmortem of what was a tough week for him as Kaizer Chiefs coach having faced Mamelodi Sundowns and rivals Orlando Pirates just days from each other.
“It’s a pass mark,” the Amakhosi coach said after he’d gotten through those two PSL fixtures unscathed, winning 2-1 away to the Brazilians and being held to a goalless draw by Pirates. “I asked myself whether I would take a point in this match (on Saturday), and I thought in as much as we haven’t won at home this season we will take it, although still not satisfied.”
Komphela is still very much aware of the pressure he is under in his third season with the Glamour Boys. Following the victory over Sundowns on Tuesday, he tried not to get carried away, saying that Chiefs had only won a big match and hadn’t actually done anything in the greater scheme of things. He was even more cautious after the Soweto Derby.
“At Naturena (club base) we could say we are happy, but we can’t say that to the public. But to get four points from six is a pass mark. I think it was a bit tricky that you played a good game against Sundowns and then quite aware of the strengths of Pirates. They tweaked things and changed structures,” Komphela explained.
The coach never really gave a direct answer to a question about surviving a week in which many thought he’d be out of a job. On paper, Sundowns looked too strong and anything can happen in the Soweto Derby, even though it’s starting to be predictable.
“We will have to go back and compare the two matches so that we can analyse properly,” he said. “But there are some things that I thought we did well against Sundowns, like players’ tactical variation. Do they adjust quickly and do they understand? We are always trying to manipulate the game and when we debrief those are some of the things we will look at. I thought we could have won the Pirates game on set-play, only if we were concentrating.”
Chiefs’ next fixture is a Telkom Knockout Cup game in Durban, their alternative home ground, against AmaZulu, who also took the big scalp of Sundowns in a league match a few hours after the Soweto Derby.
The challenge there for Amakhosi is being as disciplined tactically as they were against Pirates and as effective in all departments, like they were against the Brazilians. Amakhosi have a habit not to show up against the traditionally smaller clubs.
Komphela also still has to deal with several injuries, including the absence of five defenders, which has forced him to play a three-man central defence that features 20-year-old Siyabonga Ngezana.
“I think it depends who we get back if we want to change things,” the coach said. “In the absence of getting people back on time, then you depend on confidence. We take confidence in the fact that Philani (Zulu) and (Joseph) Molangoane were able to push higher up in the second half against Pirates and improve the game, but if we are thinkers we should do something about it in our next game.”