For a short while at Loftus it seemed like the “Hand of Gord” might just give Chiefs a moment of triumph over the Brazilians, Lorenzo Gordinho punching the ball into the net, unnoticed by referee Robert Smith and his assistants.
Yet that was as good as it got for Komphela’s men and Gordinho was sent off in the second half, after picking up a second yellow card for …. you guessed it, handling the ball. Chiefs were already 2-1 down and Katsande suffered what can only be described as a brain explosion, conceding a freekick and then finishing it beautifully – at the wrong end.
Katsande has been Chiefs’ best player this season, so one can forgive him a rare moment of insanity, but Chiefs’ performance in the second half of this campaign has been less forgivable. They could be called a little unfortunate to reach the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout finals and win neither, though it did also hint at a lack of BMT. Chiefs have slipped miles behind in the title race, crashing embarrassingly out of the Champions League, and losing in the Nedbank Cup to bitter rivals Orlando Pirates. Where to now, one wonders, for Komphela? The Chiefs coach surely deserves another season to get his philosophy working, but Chiefs also need to back him by beefing up their squad.
Amakhosi have not found an adequate replacement for Tefu Mashamaite, need a replacement for an ageing Reneilwe Letsholonyane, and their recruitment in attack has been totally laughable.
One wonders just how much influence Komphela has had over Chiefs’ signings – defender Daniel Cardoso and striker Camaldine Abraw did come from his former side, Free State Stars. Either way, the Chiefs coach cannot be totally blameless for the current shambles and needs to get a cogent strategy in place in time for next season, or the pressure will only increase.
At the other end of the scale, Mamelodi Sundowns may well have the league title wrapped up by the middle of this week, and Pitso Mosimane is one coach who gives value to the idea of chairmen staying patient with their leaders. Mosimane took some stick from Sundowns fans at the start of this season, with failure to capture the league last season followed by a patchy start to this campaign. But Mosimane has turned that around and then some, and the fans are fully behind him.
We have all the latest in the title race in this week’s Phakaaathi. Sundowns are also in the Caf Confederation Cup, and we also take a look at their opponents on Saturday, Ghana’s Medeama SC.
Another race this season is for the Golden Boot, with Collins Mbesuma leading the pack at the moment. We take a look at all the contenders who could fire themselves to some personal silverware over the next three matches. My personal feeling is that Mbesuma will hold on, though a good outside bet would be Jeremy Brockie, just three goals behind and probably the in-form striker in South Africa in 2016.
Elsewhere this week, we speak to young AmaZulu fullback Luyanda Gumede, who was inspired to take up football after watching Liverpool’s amazing comeback in the Champions League final against AC Milan in Istanbul.
And we chat to Tebogo Monyai, the Tuks stalwart forced into early retirement, and keen to see his side escape relegation.