Kaizer Chiefs players didn’t appear bamboozled by questions around coach Steve Komphela’s future this week in the lead-up to Saturday night’s top-of-the-table Absa Premiership clash against Cape Town City at FNB Stadium.
Komphela is in the final months of a contract that expires at the end of the season and has not won a single trophy since being appointed at the beginning of the 2015/16 campaign, a fact that would explain why it makes sense to question whether he should stay.
Siphiwe Tshabalala, a serial winner with Amakhosi over the years and someone who obviously knows that winning feeling, tried to find the balance between backing the coach while also not shying away from the naked truth that men such as Komphela are judged purely on results.
“It’s reality,” Tshabalala said this week. “It is football, it is business.
“When you are not doing well and it’s not working out then there’s nothing you can do. We love our coach and we are working for our coach.
“The truth is that we want him to stay because we believe he is the right coach, the only thing we need to do now is to win trophies.”
Easier said than done.
Komphela reached two cup finals in his maiden season with the club, but his players did not deliver as they lost both.
The second year was a case of déjà vu, and he is hoping for third time lucky with the league title still in sight, although log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns have stretched the gap to seven points with 10 matches to go.
The cup, in which Chiefs advanced to the last-16 and face Stellenbosch United this month, is also still up for grabs.
“When we win trophies we will keep him (Komphela) here,” said Tshabalala.
“It is not desperation, but it is the situation that we currently find ourselves in. But at the moment we are not thinking about that. We want to do well.
“For us to show our love and support for the coach, we have to win trophies. I think that is the only thing that is missing.”
He argued that Amakhosi were a work in progress, the same official line used by Chiefs boss Bobby Motaung in his defence of Komphela last month.
But Komphela’s detractors expect him to finally deliver or risk being remembered as one of the more unsuccessful Chiefs coaches.
Even in the years that they were not winning the championship, the Glamour Boys have always made it a habit to at least clinch one of the domestic cups.
“Apart from not winning the trophies he has done very well for the club - producing young players and putting a good team together, one that can compete,” said Tshabalala.
“It is up to us to fight for him on the pitch and bring silverware.”
And it will be important to keep up the fight against a City side with the same number of points (31) and looking to sneak in as surprise title challengers in this championship run-in.
“We know it will be tough and open because they want to play. We also want to play. There are three points at stake and I don’t think they will come here for a point. This is the last lap and each and every point counts,” the veteran midfielder explained.