JOHANNESBURG - Steve Komphela applauded the combination of Gustavo Paez and Bernard Parker in Saturday's 1-0 Soweto derby victory, adding that the two were outstanding in Kaizer Chiefs’ attack.
The two fed off each other’s brilliant performances on the day, with either party knowing exactly where to play the ball as they terrorised the Orlando Pirates defence for most of the match.
Paez, who was playing in his first Carling Black Label Champion Cup derby, following his arrival at the club in the middle of last season, was the one who made the most runs while Parker and his other teammates, served as providers of those defence-splitting passes.
It was Parker though, who scored the winning goal early in the match match, following a superb cross from Paez’ foot which found him unmarked inside the box to finish the chance off with a superb header.
Komphela, who was pleased that his side was able to defend this season curtain-raiser trophy after having won it last year, said he was also elated by the fact that the two were now beginning to gel as an attacking pair.
“It’s always nice to see two players getting to understand what do they need to do in order to relate to one another on the field of play,” Komphela said.
“They are slowly beginning to understand each other’s style of play. Paez even said it in one of his interviews that his teammates are, slowly but surely, getting to understand how he plays. Many a times he would break off the defensive line, but we wouldn’t see him until it was too late. But that’s how football is. It is a great teacher.
“I was also impressed with how they performed and the feedback I got from the coaches. They couldn’t stop admiring his (Paez) movements on the pitch and how we were able to spot him early enough and give him those passes which gave defenders all sorts of problems. And that’s what we wanted.”
The 50-year-old coach also added that even though Paez gave a good performance on the day, it was also crucial for the Venezuelan striker to keep his hunger to play going, as there are other teams who are already studying his movements on the field of play so that they’ll be able to close him down during the course of the season.
Doing so, Komphela believes, will see the 27-year-old become an unstoppable force in the new season.
“I’m quite sure that there are teams who have started profiling (his style of play),” Komphela said.
“But even if they do that, what’s important is that he should always give it his best in game situations, so that he can be able to beat those who think they are knowledgeable of him already.
“There’s also Ryan Moon who I believe, when given a chance to play in that central role, could give us something (in the new season),” Komphela added.
“But what’s important is to always make sure to try and keep the form, the formation and the rhythm of the team, while the rest (of the players) are suffering, waiting for their chance to play. It’s the only way to make sure that when get given their chance, they will cling onto it and perform as well.”