A colleague complained that this past weekend would be
very boring because of the absence of domestic soccer action.
I reminded him that Bafana Bafana - our national
soccer team - were playing what Shakes Mashaba had rightfully dubbed "a
crucial" Africa Cup of Nations match against Mauritania.
He was unperturbed by my view and kept on moaning
about not being able to watch his favourite club in action.
Given the way the Bafana match went, where they did
not even pitch up and embarrassingly lost 3-1 to a country with a population of
3.9 million and ranked 114th by FIFA, I now guess there are many soccer fans who
share my colleague's sentiments.
Bafana Bafana have been such a disgrace that very few
still want to be associated with them.
I am not going to dwell on the soccer national team
and their coach Shakes Mashaba's disappointing ways as I think enough have been
said on all available platforms on this subject.
Now that action returns to the Premier Soccer League
this coming weekend, I think many will be delirious.
While there are a number of clubs that have been
touted as championship contenders, I think the spotlight will be more focused
Not only because in Kaizer Chiefs he coaches one of
the two biggest clubs in South Africa, but after stepping into Stuart Baxter's shoes,
the question is, can or will he be able to emulate the Briton?
Not that Komphela's abilities are in doubt but seeing
that Baxter won a league and MTN8 Cup double last season, the hordes of
Amakhosi supporters will expect their new coach to at least defend those two.
And therein lies the rub!
Not only is the astute Komphela expected to do well,
but anything below defending those two titles and maybe adding another one of
his own, will be deemed failure.
And having already guided Chiefs to the final of the
MTN8 Cup after dispatching of his former side Maritzburg United in the
quarter-finals and then Bloemfontein Celtic in the semi-finals, hopes will be
high that he does the job against Ajax Cape Town in the final.
Should he do that, he would be a step closer to
matching Baxter's achievements from last season and in the process endear
himself in the hard-to-please hearts of the Amakhosi faithful.
Then it would be time to make a serious assault on the
league where there are still many hurdles to scale.
Just this week, he faces SuperSport United whose
four-time championship winning coach Gordon Igesund has been given the mandate
to win the league title after his bosses splashed out on a good group of
And it won't end
there for Komphela, there is still the Soweto Derby that pits Chiefs
against Orlando Pirates. This is a match that has made and broken many coaches
in the past.
Coaches at the two clubs are usually judged by the
results they achieve in this match. If
you can't beat Pirates or vice versa, you are usually considered not to
be good enough to coach either of the two giants.
So Komphela has many walls to scale before he can be
accepted and be deemed the right man for Chiefs.
After a long time - close to a decade - of the
Naturena side not having a local black coach, Komphela has the unenviable task
of not only landing a blow for himself but his local colleagues in proving that
we do have men in this country capable of handling one of the hottest coaching
seats in South African football.
Does he have what it takes? Yes!
Will he do it?
That's the million dollar question.
S’Busiso 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 well over 20 years. He is
currently City Press Sports Editor.
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.