JOHANNESBURG – The bad news for Kaizer Chiefs as they strive to take their good pre-season form into the 2017/18 PSL season is that the team providing the first hurdle in their MTN8 challenge is coached by a man with the knack for beating them.
Amakhosi have already won two friendly trophies – the Bokone Bophirima Cup and the Carling Black Label Champion Cup – to raise their fans’ hopes that they will avoid going three successive seasons without official silverware.
And next weekend they begin the season proper with an MTN8 clash against SuperSport United at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
But if the Chiefs faithful are anticipating a win similar to the past weekend’s Soweto derby success, they’d better be warned.
In Eric Tinkler, Matsatsantsa a Pitori have a coach who has the knack of beating Chiefs. The former Bafana Bafana midfield hardman, who joined the Tshwane outfit after a successful spell at Cape Town City, has never lost to Steve Komphela’s side in open play.
His only defeat came in penalty shoot-outs of a 2015 Telkom Knockout semi-final clash that had ended goalless after extra time. He was Orlando Pirates coach then.
Other than that, it has been Tinkler all the way, with two knockout victories for the man who served a long coaching apprenticeship as assistant to Roger de Sa.
Tinkler gained sweet revenge for that defeat when he sent Amakhosi packing out of the 2016 Nedbank Cup at the first hurdle, courtesy of a 2-0 win that was made possible by a Tendai Ndoro brace.
Last year, when he was at City, Tinkler again inflicted defeat on Komphela’s men at the first hurdle of the MTN8, the ‘new’ club prevailing 1-0 via Matthew Sim’s seventh-minute strike.
It hasn’t just been in the cup competitions where Tinkler topped Komphela, for he is yet to lose to him in the league.
Pirates v Chiefs derbies ended 1-1 and 3-1, and last season there was another 1-1 stalemate before City broke Amakhosi hearts with a goal at the death as they triumphed 3-2.
It all points to a SuperSport success in Durban next Saturday, right?
Not necessarily, says Tinkler.
“I don’t choose games,” he said “I treat every game equally. It will be tough against Chiefs. I saw them against Pirates in the Carling Cup.”
Granted statistics are nothing more than numbers, but the SuperSport players are sure to walk on to the pitch with a bit of spring in their step, thanks to the knowledge that their coach has a good record against the opposition.