Chiefs find the beautiful game when they least expect it
LIKE any suitor putting on the charm, Steve Komphela promised to bring sexy football back to Kaizer Chiefs after he was announced as the club’s coach, in his bid to woo Amakhosi fans. But 16 matches into his reign, the outfit still has a boep from the hangover of their record-breaking season.
Chiefs are yet to be pin-up material and have been going on with the desperation of those looking for beauty in implants and botox, with deadly consequences.
That’s where the problem lies; they have been desperately searching for beauty instead of letting it come naturally because beautiful football and success have called Naturena home for many years.
Recently it has been a visitor, leaving Chiefs when it mattered most – in the MTN8 final and the Soweto derby with arch- rivals Orlando Pirates, leaving many to question their big-match temperament.
“I wish one had a measure for that, but clearly based on the fact that we lost both big ones, then it makes you think to say that we need to concentrate more,” Komphela said.
“Apart from the result itself you also look at the performance, because that’s what should inspire you and give you a good indication of where we are. Did we perform? Not really. Did we get a result? Not really. Then you start working on that. We have to go back and start looking at it.”
The soul-searching will continue this afternoon when Chiefs take part in Round Two of the Soweto derby. This time it will be in the Telkom Knockout semi- final at the same venue, the FNB Stadium, where Pirates smashed them 3-1 last week. It’s also the same venue where Komphela’s Chiefs showed just how beautiful they can be if they don’t strive for beauty but embrace it.
The 5-3 win over Maritzburg United in Komphela’s first competitive match might have shown frailties in their defence, but it also showed their character and attacking threat.
In most of the matches where Chiefs have shown how good they can be, they have been provoked first and then reacted – be it the 1-1 draw with Bloemfontein Celtic in the MTN8 or the 4-1 thumping of SuperSport United and 3-0 vic- tory over Platinum Stars to reach the Telkom Knockout semi-final.
In contrast, the Buccaneers have turned up – be it referring to showing up with solid performances or the colloquial turning up of a party where they have won in style – in big matches.
That’s because for Eric Tinkler to impress Pirates management he had to do well in the CAF Confederation Cup, the only trophy missing in the club’s cabinet, where they have reached the final. The need to succeed on the big stage has come with side-effects as they have struggled in small matches, lacking motivation as they were expected to walk all over the smaller opposition.
In big matches they have gone in as underdogs, which makes them play with lots of freedom as they have nothing to lose. The biggest example of that was, after toppling African giants Al- Ahly in Egypt, Pirates came home and scraped a win over the struggling University of Pretoria in their Telkom Knockout opener.
“The challenge that we have is that we are Orlando Pirates,” Tinkler said. “We are a big club. The teams we play against come highly motivated, especially when you’ve been successful. Players tend to raise their game against us.
“We need to be able to deal with that, accept that, and motivate ourselves to ensure that we present ourselves the same way with whoever we play against. We can’t be seen as a team that can only play against the big teams. That shouldn’t happen.”