JOHANNESBURG - Steve Komphela will not have any job security fears at Bloemfontein Celtic despite the mooted sale of the club, his legal representative said Thursday. Komphela signed a two-year coaching contract with an option to renew for one more season at the Free State-based outfit.
But with the door still open for Celtic to be sold to a businessman in Kimberley and claims that his predecessor Veselin Jelusic quit because he was apparently not paid for two months, one wonders just how complex things were around the negotiating table between Komphela and the club.
“He was engaged over a period of two days, which would be Monday - the weekend after the club confirmed the previous coach had resigned,” said Tim Sukazi, who was speaking as Komphela’s lawyer. “The terms of the contract are such that whoever would take over if the club is indeed sold has to honour the contracts of all the employees. The only drama is if the club was to be disbanded, but that is simply a worst case scenario.”
Komphela spent three topsy-turvy years at Kaizer Chiefs, reaching two cup finals and failing to win any kind of major silverware until he was forced to resign by the irate club supporters, who have always opined that he was an underachiever for a club of the magnitude of Amakhosi. However, the 50-year-old jumped straight back into top-flight coaching, just two months after he threw in the towel at Amakhosi with three league matches remaining.
“He has always attracted interest as a coach from the first time we worked together in 2009,” said Sukazi. “That speaks to being in demand and he did not want to be out of touch for too long. That’s why he felt the need to consider taking the job when he was contacted on Monday as soon as the Celtic job became vacant,” added Suzaki.
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Komphela continues to search for his first trophy in top-flight football in a career spanning some 16 years, and many will feel that his chances of ticking that off his bucket list have diminished with Celtic - a club that, although it enjoys a large following, is hardly ever among the usual suspects when it comes to winning silverware. Phunya Sele Sele, as they are known, finished the previous season in 11th place in the Premier Soccer League.
“Our strategy was to get a reputable local coach with immense pedigree who can take us to greater heights, and in Steve we found an appropriate candidate,” said Celtic chairman Max Tshabalala in justifying Komphela’s appointment. “He has the judgment, knowledge and experience. He promotes the youth and has an exceptional eye for raw talent and that is exactly what we need as a team.”