Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi has compared Steve Komphela’s coaching journey to that of retired footballer Teko Modise’s career as both were, for quite some time, stigmatized with being unlucky when it comes to winning trophies.
Modise spent about five years at Orlando Pirates and while he received all the individual accolades, he did not win a gold medal with the Buccaneers even though Pirates won the 2010 MTN8 while “The General” was there but he doesn’t count it among his list of achievements because he was not playing at the time.
When “Dona” left Pirates, the team won a double treble, just like when he moved from SuperSport United to the Sea Robbers in 2007, what followed for Matsatsantsa A Pitori were lthree successive league – the stigma became more apparent.
The stigma was put to bed when he joined Masandawana where he collected two league crowns, the Caf Champions League together with the Super Cup, the Telkom Knockout and Nedbank Cup.
Komphela’s journey has not been too different. The 53-year-old has been in the coaching scene for about two decades and not once has touched gold until now as Sundowns won the DStv Premiership with three games to spare.
Komphela joined Downs as their senior coach at the start of the season after Mngqithi recommended him to the club management, and his appointment was met with some criticism. “Three bulls in one kraal”. “Komphela is cursed”. “A recipe for disaster”, and all that jarv.
“I cannot explain how excited I am because it is one of the reasons why we felt he should come to join us because we knew he has the ability, he had done tremendous work with Kaizer Chiefs and he was very unfortunate not to win a trophy in that space because he played two cup finals and he was forever in the top three in the league. He did exceptionally well but unfortunately he never got to win a trophy,” Mngqithi.
“It was not always his fault, he was just unlucky, even some were indicating to us that he would bring that bad luck but I have always believed that those things don’t work. The amount of work that you put in brings you closer to the possibility of winning something and now that we have won the championship, it is exciting for me,” he added.
Mngqithi, a long-time buddy of Komphela, revealed that the 2013/14 league title was inspired by getting the curse stigma off Modise’s back, and with this one, there are a number of reasons.
Honouring the late Motjeka Madisha and Anele Ngcongca, setting the record for the most consecutive titles, and probably, just maybe, for Steve.
“I remember that coach Pitso Mosimane made sure that we win the league for Teko because everybody was saying Teko has bad luck but at times people will stigmatize you and think you are never meant to achieve something and the unfortunate part is that us, the black nation, we always look at it in that way instead of supporting each other,” said Mngqithi, who went on add that Komphela could have enjoyed some success with Amakhosi had he been given more support.
“If you can check the contribution of Steve in our football in terms of the players which he produced from Free State Stars and the players he gave an opportunity at Chiefs, it should indicate, to all of us, the quality of the coach that he is. Look at Chiefs now and compare it to the seasons when he was there. Inasmuch as he did not win anything with Chiefs, but look at where he put them and what happened after he left.
“That should indicate to everybody the impact that he had at Chiefs. Had he been given the same chance and got the players who came in after him, he would have probably been in a better space to win something. Maybe it was God’s wish that he should win when he is working with us and we really appreciate that.”