Jaco van der Merwe
Head of Motoring
3 minute read
15 Dec 2016
1:09 pm

When to eject the man in the hot seat

Jaco van der Merwe

Reading how angry Kaizer Chiefs fans are baying for coach Steve Komphela’s blood, I can’t help but to think back to the situation Pitso Mosimane found himself in some 15 months ago.

The Mamelodi Sundowns faithful – the very same people who wanted Pitso to relieve Johan Neeskens some years before – demanded a change of management after the Brazilians where dumped out of the MTN8 and were languishing in the bottom half of the Absa Premiership table after a poor start to the season.

But boy, did Pitso make them eat humble pie by not only cruising to the league title, but also annexing the Telkom Knockout along the route, which eventually ended with an historic Caf Champions League title. We’ll never know what would have happened if the fans got their wish, but I think it is safe to say club bosses made the right call. The same goes for Chelsea earlier this season.

At one stage in September, bookies stopped taking bets on Blues boss Antonio Conte being the next Premier League manager to get the chop, which is probably the most damning indictment for any manager. Chelsea’s suits denied the rumours – what else did we expect? – and stuck with their man. Less than three months later the Blues are on a serious roll, enjoying a three-point gap at the top of the table.

Looking at the other end of the sphere, there is also an argument that sacking the coach as a quick fix could pays dividends. We have in fact seen this many times. Last season, SuperSport United got rid of Gordon Igesund and before the end of the season, new man Stuart Baxter rewarded them with silverware in the form of the Nedbank Cup.

It was rather ironic for Igesund though, who himself replaced Cavin Johnson just the previous season and reaped an instant reward in the form of the Telkom Knockout title. A couple of season before that Orlando Pirates lost their cool with Julio Leal and interim coach Augusto Palacios guided the Sea Robbers to their second consecutive league title.

After constant reports that Komphela will face the guillotine during the January Afcon break, the rumours have intensified to the point where he might even be shown the door should Amakhosi fail against Bloemfontein Celtic tonight.

I find it quite interesting that the very same fans who’ll probably try and shower Komphela with empty bottles should they lose at the Calabash tonight, are the very same ones who bitched about the lack of calibre players Amakhosi recruited for this season.

It is a well-known fact that the coach at Naturena doesn’t have the final say in who gets signed and who not, so how can they expect someone to do a proper job without what they perceive to be the right tools in the first place? From what I gather from the Khosi 4 Life brigade, the current crop of players just don’t make the grade. It seems that even if Komphela manages to save his job he doesn’t have the firepower to win the league, and I can’t see the same squad making a miraculous turnaround and finish the season with silverware under a new coach.

So until Kaizer Motaung addresses the real issue irking the proud club’s die hard fans, I recommend he does the sensible thing regarding whether he keeps Komphela on as coach. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe…