DURBAN – Steve Komphela refused to talk about the perennial pain he endured during his spell with Kaizer Chiefs, as he is focused on building stability and to produce results at Bloemfontein Celtic.
The former Chiefs coach was at his optimum best with his answers when he was quizzed about Amakhosi.
Last week, Chiefs announced Giovanni Solinas as his replacement, on a two-year deal. Komphela is currently employed by Celtic.
“I’ve always refused in my past three years, I’ve always refused. You’ve been haunting and haunting me, and I survived three years of an onslaught.
“So, I cannot therefore commit an error today after having committed three years of no errors,” Komphela said.
“I cannot then get excited and commit an error today. It will erase the three years of dignity and respect out of the sincere suffering I went through.
“So I cannot, I’m going to stay dignified and respectful irrespective of circumstances,” Komphela said as he cleverly ducked an opportunity to offer Solinas any sort of advice.
Itumeleng Khune made a huge statement this week as he pointed out that they sometimes players didn’t understand what Komphela wanted from them.
Komphela endured torrid times during his tenure at Amakhosi as he failed to deliver trophies for three seasons.
It wasn’t a happy ending for Komphela at Chiefs, as he felt compelled to resign after fans stormed on to the pitch calling for his head following the club’s Nedbank Cup semi-final defeat to Free State Stars at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
Komphela didn’t stay long without a job, as he soon landed the Celtic coaching position.
“I’ve never been down. You only pick yourself up when you’ve been down. I’ve never been down,” he masterfully elaborated.
Komphela went on to defend the 3-4-3 playing formation he deployed during his spell with Chiefs. “I hope we will learn from Russia 2018. Two semi-finalists were playing the same 3-4-3 that you slaughtered me for.
“Belgium, the best team in the world. England, unbelievable improvement. I was slaughtered for that,” he said.
“Fortunately, you guys never remembered. I said to you guys – and I’m sure I said that in 2017 – I said you must check what will happen in Russia 2018. It was a year back.
“But we don’t stand here to come and prove the point. We just keep nodding and remembering with selective memories, this time they don’t remember what I said, but I did say it.”
Komphela has moved from the Amakhosi, and his focus is to bring stability in to Celtic side that is going through ownership problems.
“My long-term goal at Celtic is to create a structure that is sustainable. Short-term is that you have to get results,” he added.
Celtic have been going through tough times, which saw players going on strike for unpaid salaries.
“It was dealt with by our office. There are certain things that you as coach can’t do nothing about. My job is to coach, and our office deals with the rest of the other stuff.
“I’m more technical then looking at the whole lot of things. But as I always say, if there is no problem, why then bring someone to solve it? The essence of having coaches, it is because coaching is required.
“If the coach leaves the club, the other coach should go in. We need these coaches. It is the same with me. So, we are at service,” Komphela said.
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The former SA Under-23 mentor has found familiar faces at Celtic in Lorenzo Gordinho and Lucky Baloyi.
He worked with the duo during his time at Chiefs.
“They are training very well. He is going through his pre-season nicely. I worked with Lorenzo Gordinho at Chiefs and I worked with Lucky Baloyi at Chiefs, and the whole lot of others.
“We know each other from corridors and they are enjoying themselves. We are waiting for the season to open to see how well we prepared.
“You can prepare, but the level of competition will be seen in the first match.”