JOHANNESBURG – If you’ve never met Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela and you were a complete stranger to his character and personality, you’d think he was taking credit for putting together Maritzburg United’s youthful side.
The Team of Choice currently sits joint top of the Absa Premiership table on eight points with four other teams.
“Sometimes when you work in an institution, you don’t work to save your job. You work to leave a legacy that, as you go on, the team survives. That is what we left there,” the Amakhosi coach said in response to a question on what his thoughts were on Fadlu Davids’ team.
Komphela spent a fruitful season at Maritzburg during the 2014/15 campaign, one in which the Kwazulu-Natal outfit finished in the top eight for the first time in the club’s history before the former Bafana Bafana skipper was lured away by Chiefs.
He returns there again on Wednesday night, wary of a team that are unbeaten in four games and with much more credit due to Davids – now permanent coach after serving in the interim on a number of occasions in previous years – than predecessor Komphela.
The Amakhosi coach was in no way attempting to share in his previous club’s current limelight, but simply to drive home the point that he was well aware of what Maritzburg can offer, or maybe just how difficult they will be to beat at the Harry Gwala Stadium.
Davids’ charges managed a credible goalless draw at the same venue on Friday night against Orlando Pirates, with whom they share the top spot, alongside Golden Arrows and Baroka FC on eight points following four rounds of matches.
Komphela may have spotted and given an opportunity to Sheldon van Wyk, Mohau Mokate and Deolin Mekoa during his spell at Maritzburg, but it’s Davids who appears to have put together a well-oiled machined this season that has his Amakhosi counterpart concerned.
“It is the very same players we saw from the MDC (reserve league) and built, that are now going to haunt us. That’s football,” said Komphela, who endured a week of mixed fortunes, having beaten Cape Town City 2-0 last Wednesday in the Mother City and then have reigning league champions Bidvest Wits score a last-gasp goal to come away from the FNB Stadium with a point at the weekend.
“That’s just part of life.”
Chiefs have only managed a single win so far this season from the same number of fixtures as Maritzburg, a run of results that has consistently put Komphela under pressure, especially after the Glamour Boys missed out on the MTN8 after being eliminated by finalists SuperSport United.
Maritzburg pose much more of a threat at this stage of the Premier League campaign.
They have built a strong team and are reaping the rewards from the hard work of their young coach Davids, who just missed out on creating a bit of history himself when Maritzburg were also knocked out of the cup by SuperSport over the two-legged semi-finals earlier this month.
Other games on Wednesday night include Platinum Stars v Golden Arrows; Bloemfontein Celtic v Baroka and Amazulu against defending champions Bidvest Wits.