Johannesburg - This week’s decision by Kaizer Chiefs management to overhaul the team in the new season is long overdue.
It is just a matter of time before Chiefs pull the trigger on beleaguered coach Steve Komphela.
Signs have been popping up all over the show that his days are numbered at Naturena thanks to a two-and-a-half-year barren spell.
It is difficult to justify keeping a coach who does not deliver the silverware.
Chiefs have promised a “complete overhaul of the team” before the start of the new season, admitting their failure and unhappiness about how things have turned out.
“Decisive changes will have to be implemented at the end of the season to remedy the situation,” the club said in a statement this week.
However, it is unclear if getting rid of Komphela will solve all their problems.
Changes in the technical team are a foregone conclusion, but this is not the only department that needs to be “fixed”.
Gone are the days of buy one, get one free that Amakhosi supporters have been accustomed to. The club has been stingy and has gone for available players instead of the ones who are needed.
Until this year’s transfer window period, when they got Leonardo Castro and Siphelele Ntshangase, Chiefs have not been getting hold of the right players. They used to attract the best, but this has not been the case in a long time, and they can no longer rely on their reputation to attract players. Some of the players they recruited have already left without having made any meaningful contributions. This is an indictment of the club’s transfer policy.
It is no longer an honour to wear the black and gold jersey. While Chiefs should not throw money around willy-nilly, they nevertheless have to put up a good fight to lure good players across.
The club might not get every good player it is after, but it must at least go out of its way to try to capture them.
Most players at Chiefs hardly deserve to play for the club.
There is clearly a need for an adviser who will oversee the technical department. Earlier in the year, Chiefs unveiled Dutch coach Rob Hutting as their technical director. However, the team still plays the way it has since Komphela arrived almost three seasons ago, which means Hutting has not had a noticeable influence on the affairs of the team.
Most successful clubs have technical advisers who call the shots, give direction and intervene when necessary. This has not been the case at Chiefs in a long time.
Some of the decisions made by the club’s management team have been detrimental to the Chiefs’ success.
Letting Lorenzo Gordinho go to Bloemfontein Celtic is a case in point. At his age, Gordinho is one for the future and should have been left to fight for his position in the team.
Without any technical expertise, Bobby Motaung simply cannot be left in charge of player movements – he’s made way too many bad decisions when it comes to signings, and he has gotten away with it.
The Komphela factor
Whether he likes it or not, the buck stops with him. Irrespective of the conditions he found when he joined the club, it was his responsibility to get it together and build a formidable side to challenge for the honours.
He inherited a side that won the Absa Premiership and the MTN8 trophy under Stuart Baxter.
His excuse has always been that he had to build his own team following the departures of Tefu Mashamaite, Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Mandla Masango, who were all an integral part of Baxter’s winning team. They had the momentum early on when they reached the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout finals, but failed at the last hurdle.
The way forward
Whoever replaces Komphela will have his work cut out for him. After going three seasons without a trophy, the new man will have to hit the ground running to appease Chiefs supporters, who are calling the shots at Amakhosi.
Chiefs need a strong man who will not be intimidated by the job of managing some of the best players in the league.
They need a coach who will not be scared to make unpopular decisions and put his foot down. He will do well to stay away from the club’s politics and focus on the job.
Coaching Chiefs comes with its own challenges as there is always pressure to win every game the team plays.
But, for now, Komphela is still calling the shots.