Chiefs show ta­ble-top­pers Baroka nec­es­sary re­spect

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STEVE Kom­phela didn’t take the bait yes­ter­day when asked if he was hav­ing a tough time planning for Kaizer Chiefs’ fix­ture against plucky Baroka FC be­cause the gen­eral con­sen­sus was that their game plan is a lit­tle “un­struc­tured”.

The Amakhosi coach in­stead took the op­por­tu­nity to shower a side that had a close brush with rel­e­ga­tion last sea­son with praise, say­ing they are a much stronger out­fit this time around and that was due to their mav­er­ick coach Kgoloko Thobe­jane and, per­haps, re­cently ap­pointed tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Doc­tor Khu­malo, a Chiefs leg­end.

“I have no right to say they are pre­dictable,” Kom­phela said ahead of the Glam­our Boys host­ing sur­prise joint log lead­ers Baroka at Dur­ban’s Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium tomorrow.

“The way they play is their own choice and pre­rog­a­tive. We can­not put our noses in there. It’s full of en­ergy and un­pre­dictable as one could call it be­cause be­ing un­pre­dictable is some­times ex­actly how you win matches. You have to give them re­spect.”

Thobe­jane (pic­tured) has been so­cial me­dia fod­der with his post-match re­marks, most no­tably when he said “foot­ball can kill you real death”, to an ex­tent that it’s easy to play down the club’s chances of main­tain­ing their cur­rent sta­tus as ta­ble top­pers be­cause of the char­ac­ter and per­son­al­ity of the man in charge.

But Kom­phela ar­gued that the team the Lim­popo out­fit has put to­gether for their sopho­more year in the Premier League is sim­ply full of qual­ity. He would not mock Thobe­jane’s seem­ing in­abil­ity to ex­press him­self dur­ing in­ter­views.

“I like how you put it that other coaches feel su­pe­rior to him (Thobe­jane). The other side is that the other coaches un­der­mine him,” the Chiefs men­tor ex­plained. “If you have less re­spect for oth­ers, you un­der­mine. We never do that, we have great re­spect for the man. I wish I could have said this some other time. The fact that you speak English bet­ter is no sign of in­tel­li­gence. And the fact that you don’t speak English that well is no sign of a lack there­fore. “A man can be highly in­tel­li­gent in an indige­nous lan­guage, which should not be dis­re­spected. A man can also be or­di­nary in a for­eign lan­guage, but that should not earn them the re­spect. Foot­ball is a uni­ver­sal lan­guage.”

Kom­phela also had high praise for Khu­malo, who joined Baroka as a tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor af­ter his role at Chiefs had be­come un­clear fol­low­ing his de­mo­tion from be­ing the club’s as­sis­tant coach in Kom­phela’s first sea­son.

“I am sure his in­flu­ence there is also clear,” he said. “His con­tri­bu­tion at Chiefs was im­mense. Most of his bread, his foun­da­tion was built by Chiefs. Un­for­tu­nately he had to move on. I am sure he will give a de­tailed re­port about how we play hav­ing been here for so long.”

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