Cape Town - Usually signs are there long before a
football coach is fired or resigns.
Things normally start slowly with small
things such as tiffs with players or reports of the coach losing the change-room
but usually the supporters are the ones who have the final say.
So the incident of the “small” group –
or bunch – of Kaizer Chiefs supporters that hurled abuse in the direction of
coach Steve Komphela, cannot be ignored.
The incident happened at the FNB Stadium
following a 1-1 draw against SuperSport United on Wednesday. The result came at the back
of a 2-1 loss to Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday.
The two results saw Amakhosi slip
further down the league table to position sixth.
The Chiefs situation is, however, not much
about where the club is situated on the log. I think the main reason for the
supporters’ indignations lie in the way the club has been playing.
Besides the first half in which the
players showed some glimpses of brilliance, Chiefs’ performances have been
lackluster to say the least. The players have looked listless, if not directionless.
For quite some time now, one has been
hearing mutterings of “this is not the Chiefs we know.”
Those who have followed the club since
its formation in the seventies would know that for decades The Phefeni Glamour
(some say once-glamour) Boys have been known for the swashbuckling and
no-nonsense approach to the game that saw their cabinet teeming with different
types of silverware.
Komphela is in his second season and he
doesn’t seem to be anywhere near bringing any cups soon.
This should be bothering even the
overly-patient Kaizer Motaung who resisted all calls for him to fire the coach
at the end of a barren 2015/16 season.
But even before Komphela could think of
his next move, German Ernst Middendorp (also known as Middendraws), threw in the
towel after his Maritzburg United charges were beaten 3-2 by surprise package, Cape
The victory saw City join Bidvest Wits
at the summit of the log table with 20 points apiece. However, the Capetonians
have played two games more than The Students.
Wits had been held to a 2-2 draw by
newcomers Highlands Park on the same night.
Pirates continued with their winning
ways under caretaker coach Augusto Palacios, scoring an impressive 1-0 away win
over Chippa United.
This victory must be a morale-booster
for the Buccaneers ahead of their Telkom Knockout Cup semifinal against
SuperSport on Saturday evening.
City will also go into their own
semi-final during the day against Free State Stars with their tails high.
Besides these two matches that will
determine who goes to the Telkom Knockout final, Sundowns will continue with
their catch-up programme as they host Highlands on Sunday. There is also a full
league programme on Tuesday and Wednesday with not only Komphela but other
coaches as well sitting uneasy.
Such is the nature of the game.
Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an
authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a
career spanning over 30 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor).