Kaizer Chiefs need more boss, more bench

Pretoria News Weekend - - SPORT -

KAIZER Chiefs owe much of their prob­lems to the make-up of their bench in more ways than one.

If they don’t im­prove it, they will go for a third suc­ces­sive sea­son with­out a tro­phy. That would be the first time the coun­try’s most suc­cess­ful team in do­mes­tic com­pe­ti­tions would have gone that long with­out lift­ing a tro­phy.

A lot has been said about coach Steve Kom­phela’s ten­ure and ca­pa­bil­i­ties, or lack thereof, to man­age a club of Chiefs’ mag­ni­tude.

Kom­phela has failed at Amakhosi not just by not de­liv­er­ing sil­ver­ware but also in not im­pos­ing him­self to show just who is boss.

When asked about crit­i­cism that he is soft on the play­ers, Kom­phela was his usual philo­soph­i­cal self and ar­gued that just be­cause he doesn’t flex his mus­cles doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have power.

“There are dif­fer­ent ways to look at power,” he said.

“There is silent power, there’s soft power and there’s loud and ag­gres­sive power. We are dif­fer­ent. It’s just that peo­ple who haven’t been with us don’t un­der­stand the ex­act lev­els of the power that we have and how we use it. When they are out­side look­ing at us, maybe they think that there is lack thereof.

“How­ever, if you want to show your power, some­times it comes across as de­struc­tive. You could still be pow­er­ful but silent like an ele­phant. Some­times you don’t have to show your power.

“I strongly be­lieve that peo­ple need to be re­spected. Some­times when you show too much power you pul­verise and kill oth­ers. You still need to have your power but you push your power prop­erly.”

It will take some do­ing for Kom­phela to turn things around and re­turn glory days back to the club.

De­spite keep­ing the core of the squad that started with him three years ago, Amakhosi aren’t well oiled as they should be. But most of the club’s prob­lems aren’t only Kom­phela’s faults. You just have to look at their bench and play­ers in the stands to see how thin Amakhosi are.

Chiefs have a strong start­ing XI that reg­u­larly fea­tures a de­fence that has four Bafana Bafana play­ers – Itume­leng Khune, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Lorenzo Gordinho and Mu­lo­mowan­dau Mathoho – while the fifth mem­ber, Tsepo Masilela, is a for­mer Bafana left-back who played in Spain.

The prob­lem for Chiefs is who is be­hind that start­ing XI. The key to any good team is to have the play­ers who will push each other so that they don’t take their po­si­tions for granted.

Ge­orge Lebese al­luded to that fact in the in­ter­view I did with him.He said go­ing to Mamelodi Sun­downs will push him to ex­cel be­cause if he is in the start­ing XI, there is a qual­ity player on the bench and if he is on the bench that means there is a qual­ity player start­ing ahead of him and he must work hard to re­place him.

Chiefs don’t have that lux­ury as most of their play­ers on the bench and in the stands would strug­gle to even make the squad of cham­pi­onship con­tenders like Bid­vest Wits, Su­perS­port United and Mamelodi Sun­downs.

The rea­son why these three teams have been the best sides in the coun­try in the last two sea­sons is be­cause their qual­ity goes beyond them just putting on a for­mi­da­ble start­ing XI.

They have play­ers that they don’t utilise who could eas­ily walk into any start­ing XI.

Wits, Sun­downs and Su­perS­port can af­ford to put Ben Motshwari, Xola Mlambo, An­thony Laf­for, Sibu­siso Vi­lakazi, Jeremy Brockie and Te­boho Mokoena on the bench and still be com­pet­i­tive. Hav­ing such qual­ity on the bench will push who­ever is start­ing to do well be­cause they know that there is a more than ca­pa­ble re­place­ment wait­ing to take over.

Chiefs’ man­age­ment are within their rights to de­mand an­swers from Kom­phela on where the team is go­ing un­der his ten­ure. But after get­ting those an­swers and de­cid­ing what to do, they also have to look at some of the play­ers they have brought to the club and ad­mit that few have brought value to Amakhosi.

The ab­sence of se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion has been Chiefs’ big­gest down­fall.

That’s why the club con­ceded so many goals in the dy­ing mo­ments of games last sea­son and the play­ers who made those grave mis­takes still kept their places be­cause re­place­ments from the bench weren’t up to it.

Amakhosi need to take a se­ri­ous look at them­selves and make tough de­ci­sions if they are to fight for hon­ours like they’re ac­cus­tomed to. If they don’t, they will con­tinue slip­ping down the or­der.

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