Steve Komphela has big shoes to fill at one of Africa’s biggest clubs, writes Timothy Molobi
Chiefs supporters have welcomed the recent appointment of Steve Komphela as the club’s new coach.
But with South African club bosses being notorious for their trigger-happy dismissal of coaches, Komphela knows that filling Stuart Baxter’s big shoes will not be easy.
Chiefs boss Kaizer Motaung explained that Komphela had signed a three-year deal.
He did point out that the contract was not the determining factor of how long Komphela would actually stay with the club.
The Amakhosi chief said they would work together as long as there was a willingness from both parties.
However, the eternally optimistic Komphela has taken this comment in a positive light, saying he would like to add to the three years – not reduce it.
Komphela said he was fully aware of the daunting task that awaited him at “arguably one of the biggest clubs in Africa”.
Interestingly, Komphela’s first official game will be against his previous club Maritzburg United in the MTN8 quarterfinals in the first week of August.
He is relishing the prospect of meeting his former side.
“It would be interesting coming up against the team I took to the top eight. They know me and I know them in and out and what they are capable of,” he said.
Komphela is also acutely aware of the expectations of Chiefs followers.
“It’s a pressure cooker, starting with the Carling Cup, because supporters want to win everything. Moreover, they expect us to do well, as we are the defending MTN8 champions.”
He said there was no need to change too much in the Chiefs set-up.
“One or two tweaks here and there will do. Unfortunately they have lost some personnel, which means we will have to find replacements, but we will do well.”
Komphela admitted that Baxter had set a very high standard and would be a tough act to follow – winning two league titles and two cup competitions (the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup) in the three seasons the Englishman had spent at Amakhosi.
Komphela is the first local coach to lead the mighty Amakhosi on a permanent basis since the Premier Soccer League was formed in 1996.
His detractors have already drawn their daggers, saying there’s no way he will succeed at Chiefs.
The pressure will be on the former Bafana Bafana captain to prove his critics wrong.
Tips for Komphela Be a manager of men:
Make full use of your advantage of understanding SA players’ mentality and treat them accordingly
Never compete with players:
You are a young coach at 47, so don’t stoop to the players’ standards and compete with them in terms of wearing the best fashion and driving the best cars
Stamp your authority: You are the boss, so do not be scared to make unpopular decisions.