Steve Komphela’s accession to the hottest seat in South African football was
significant in many ways and brings with it a responsibility that goes way
beyond just ensuring success on the field.
Chiefs brought an end their long held stance against local coaches, who Kaizer
Motaung once candidly said he did not trust with the fortunes of his team.
It was last in 1993 that Sergio dos Santos was brought up from amateur football
in Cape Town to take charge of AmaKhosi but it proved a failed experiment and
he did not see out the season before being replaced.
Following him have come a long succession of foreign born coaches, many
successful but others not. Jeff Butler and Ted Dumitru are among the record
setters for South African football while Philippe Troussier, for all his
exploits elsewhere in Africa and Asia, flopped at Chiefs, lasting all of nine
Last incumbent Stuart Baxter won two championships out of three and might have
had a hattrick of league titles had Chiefs not imploded so badly in the final
stages of 2013/14 season.
Appointing Komphela is obviously a leap of faith at Naturena and the fact that
the former Bafana Bafana captain is the first local in more than two decades to
be named head coach imposes even more pressure on his, hopefully broad,
Not only does he had to contend with all that Chiefs’ coaches have dealt with
in the past, in terms of the fans pressure, the expectation and all the hype
and focus, but Komphela is also carrying a torch for the young local coaches of
If he can succeed in this job - a much more intense and demanding position than
any of those he has previously held – and, most importantly, win silverware,
then he will surely open the gate for other local coaches on the fringes.
Proving that a South African can command a top job will convince other
reluctant owners to show some faith in home grown talent.
There is a growing group of Mourinhonistas in the South Africa game - geeks of
the game who all slavish consumed by the sport and are bringing a new, more
thoughtful and intellectual approach to the sport.
Many of them, however, wait in the wings for opportunity that Komphela might be
the one to provide.
Mark Gleeson is a world-renowned soccer commentator and Editorial Director of Mzanzi Football.
Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse
views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their
own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.