Johannesburg - Under normal circumstances, the international break would mean spending time with friends and family. But I doubt this was the case for Steve Komphela and other PSL coaches after a disastrous start to the season.
Instead, it was time to reflect and figure out how to fix the situation as they walk a tightrope. Two coaches – Sammy Troughton and Peter Butler – have already been sent packing by their clubs, Free State Stars and Platinum Stars, respectively, and more are worried about their future.
With no win in three games – two in the league and one cup competition – and no marquee signing, pressure is already mounting for Komphela to deliver or take a hike.
It might still be early in the season, but that counts for nothing as supporters want instant success and results.
Komphela is a marked man and has been thrown under the bus by Chiefs management, who, for the third season running, have failed to get quality players to compete.
The window period came and went without any meaningful action in the market from the Amakhosi hierarchy, and this has been evident on the field – two losses to SuperSport United and a draw with Bloemfontein Celtic.
Chiefs have brought in Bongolethu Jayiya, Philani Zulu, Teenage Hadebe and Dumisani Zuma, who are all not starting material.
This has resulted in Komphela sticking with the same players who have failed to win any silverware in the past two seasons in his starting line-up.
The next two fixtures against Cape Town City and Bidvest Wits could determine the fate of Komphela, who would be hoping for a good response from his players following the international break.
But high-riding City could add to his woes on Wednesday night, as could the Students on Saturday.
Benni McCarthy’s side are still to lose, and are joint log leaders with Maritzburg United after amassing six points in their opening two matches.
Chiefs would not have asked for a high-profile game to prove their blip was temporary against the side that finished third last season.
McCarthy has taken to coaching like a duck to water and has already instilled his philosophy in the City players – if the three games they have played so far are anything to go by.
New arrivals Teko Modise, Ayanda Patosi and Lyle Lakay have also found their footing and will pose a serious threat to Chiefs, who will be without suspended defender Eric Mathoho.
The league action starts tomorrow when Luc Eymael starts his new job at Free State Stars with a game against Mamelodi Sundowns at home.
The league has brought this game forward to afford Sundowns more time to prepare for their weekend CAF Champions League game against Wydad Casablanca.
Eymael replaced Troughton, who lasted only two games. Stars have also acquired the services of former Orlando Pirates left-back Patrick Phungwayo, who will partner with his former team-mate Rooi Mahamutsa, and former Kaizer Chiefs striker Edward Manqele.
On Tuesday, Maritzburg visit AmaZulu at King Zwelithini Stadium in a KwaZulu-Natal derby, and Polokwane City welcome Bloemfontein Celtic. Pirates will host Ajax Cape Town, who will begin life without Rivaldo Coetzee.
But all eyes will be on Cape Town to see whether Chiefs and their embattled coach survive the Cape of Storms.