Local News 25.8.2016 10:28 am

Komphela defends decision to field old guard

Steve Komphela, coach of Kaizer Chiefs during the Absa Premiership match between Bidvest Wits v Kaizer Chiefs at the Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa on August 23, 2016 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Steve Komphela, coach of Kaizer Chiefs during the Absa Premiership match between Bidvest Wits v Kaizer Chiefs at the Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa on August 23, 2016 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Steve Komphela has defended his decision to keep faith in his old guard after Kaizer Chiefs were humbled 2-1 by Bidvest Wits in Tuesday’s Absa Premiership opener.

Komphela fielded just one new signing in his starting line-up, central defender Ramahlwe Mphahlele, as Amakhosi gave a dreadful performance for most of the evening.

Their display only livened up, in fact, when a couple more new faces, in Lewis Macha and Emmanuel Letlotlo, came on the field in the second half.

“I thought the team had been training extremely well, this was the same team that played extremely well in the Black Label Cup, there was no sign of any of this,” said Komphela, admitting that his team had performed poorly on the night.

“Three or four team members were not on form. This is worse when you are playing Wits, a very committed side. Wits played with more purpose and we have to accept that we deserved to lose.”

Wits coach Gavin Hunt was braver than Komphela, fielding four new signings in the central midfield pairing of Xola Mlambo and Thabang Monare and the attacking duo of Eleazar Rodgers and Gabadinho Mhango.

Wits’ old boys Daine Klate and Elias Pelembe also shone and the Clever Boys again look like title challengers.

The depth in the Wits squad is hugely impressive with the likes of Bongani Khumalo, Cuthbert Malajila and Mogakolodi Ngele all starting from the bench on Tuesday.

“We have good competition this year, last year we never had anything. I mean, taking off Rodgers (today) and putting on Malajila, last year we took off Botes and put on….” said Hunt, clearly not wanting to name the inadequate substitute on his mind.

“When we lost our spine last year with eight games to go, we lost Tyson (Hlatshwayo), we lost Papy Faty, we lost (James) Keene and we lost Phakamani (Mahlambi), we limped over the line, we didn’t look like winning another game. This year we can’t get in that situation so we have done good business.”

Chiefs must now recover quickly as they take on Cape Town City in the MTN8 quarterfinals tomorrow evening. Wits host Orlando Pirates in their last-eight match on Saturday night.

poll

results

FS Stars 0-2 Chiefs
Arrows 1-1 SuperSport Utd
Baroka 1-4 Chippa Utd
Highlands 1-1 CT City

fixtures

Arrows vs Chippa Utd
FS Stars vs Maritzburg Utd
P Stars vs Celtic
Chiefs vs Ajax CT

psl log

# Team GP Pts
1 Kaizer Chiefs 5 10
2 Arrows 5 10
3 Orlando Pirates 4 8
4 Cape Town City 5 8
5 Polokwane City 5 8
6 Chippa United 3 7
7 Bidvest Wits 3 7
8 SuperSport United 5 6
9 Platinum Stars 4 5
10 Highlands Park 4 4
11 Maritzburg Utd 5 4
12 Baroka FC 5 4
13 Ajax Cape Town 4 2
14 Free State Stars 5 2
15 Sundowns 1 1
16 Bloem Celtic 3 1