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Steve Komphela has to stop protecting Kaizer Chiefs players

Finally, life is back to normal! The struggle of finding something to fill up the weekend afternoons with is over, thanks to the return of the football season.
And what a return it was!

I must have watched seven matches this weekend, both local games and in the English Premier League, as my relationship with the couch and the remote control got rekindled.

The television must have been a bit shocked, given it had been stuck on one channel (208) for the IAAF World Athletics Championships for a while now.

But I visited that channel, in between the hops from 203 to 204, to witness Mo Farah finally getting beaten as he bowed out from the track after many years of domination. Ditto for Usain Bolt’s sad departure into the sunset.

Just as those two highly anticipated exits went against the script, there was also nothing normal about the PSL season’s official opening match on Friday night when Bidvest Wits hosted Golden Arrows as they began the defence of their MTN8 title.

Four goals; a penalty shoot-out that went into sudden death, as well as six sending-offs characterised Wits’ passage to the semi-finals.

Bring on the new season, alright!

If the clubs are going to approach the matches with the same intensity that the Clever Boys and Abafana Bes’thende did, then you can bet we are in for a thrilling season.

Not that the Kaizer Chiefs fans will agree, given that things were ‘normal’ for them, their team coming unstuck yet again despite dominating a game from start to finish as they lost to SuperSport United.

As though that was not de ja vu enough, there was Steve Komphela philosophising non-stop after yet another defeat.

Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela. Photo: Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix

If Chiefs played the game as well as Steve reasoned their losses, Amakhosi would be the country’s best football side by far, they might even be the best club side in the world.

The reality, however, is that under Komphela, Chiefs are yet to win any official silverware. And, no amount of eloquent philosophising will change that.

Granted, a coach can only do so much.

But I found it laughable that one of the excuses was that Chiefs were unlucky, Komphela and even the commentators pointing to the fact that Amakhosi rattled the crossbar on three occasions to support their standpoint.

Really! For me, hitting the crossbar equals a miss. For Pete’s sake, the point of the game is to direct the ball between the poles and under the crossbar and not against them.

And the likes of Hendrick Ekstein, whose attempt at the gaping goals went against the upright, should mean he has to stay behind after training to practice hitting the target.

Komphela is going to have to be ruthless with his players and stop protecting them the way he has in previous seasons.

Coaching is not for nice guys, and it is perhaps that he is such that Komphela has had to watch the likes of Eric Tinkler and Pitso Mosimane win trophies while he has struggled.

As it is, even Benni McCarthy might lift silverware before him – the former Bafana Bafana striker having ensured Cape Town City’s passage to the semis in his first match with a victory over Polokwane City.

Sure it came via an own goal, but it was a goal nevertheless – one that came about due to City putting their namesakes under huge pressure at the back.

McCarthy and his City are coming to Jozi to take on the Clever Boys, for whom coach Gavin Hunt won’t be on the bench after his sending-off at the weekend.

That robs us of what would have been an exciting clash between mentor and mentee – Hunt having given McCarthy his professional debut as a player.

But you can rest assured it will be a fascinating clash, just as fascinating as this season that has brought an end to our hitherto boring weekends promises to be.

* Matshelane Mamabolo is the Gauteng Regional Sports Co-Ordinator for Independent Media.

The Star

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