From ‘chump’ to budding giant killer

OVERCOMING PRESSURE: Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela is beating the critics

Chiefs’ Komphela back on road to success

The million voices‚ from those who said that he did not have a clue what he was doing to those who urged people to give him a chance‚ have motivated Steve Komphela to weather the storm at Kaizer Chiefs.

Amakhosi are finally in calmer seas under the coach who was doubted before he even took charge of his first match‚ having inherited a team that had won the Absa Premiership title in style.

But the Soweto giants were more chumps than champions in Komphela’s first season, which led to a chorus of fans calling for his sacking.

He survived that and this season Chiefs are gunning for the Nedbank Cup and are in the five-horse league race along with Cape Town City‚ Bidvest Wits‚ Mamelodi Sundowns and Super-Sport United.

“There are a lot of good and bad voices out there‚” Komphela said.

“In both‚ there is goodness. The good voices are a reminder and you don’t want to let them down.

“Those bad voices are an inspiration‚ that you know it’s okay. But above all you are privileged to be coaching Chiefs.

“Many people could be coaching Chiefs.

“The fact that’s it’s only you who is coaching Chiefs‚ don’t expect them to understand what you are going through.

“It is only you who is in that position.

“We only have one president. If by any chance you expect him to think like you‚ it can’t be. “It’s the same with me.” Chiefs’ biggest win under Komphela was beating the Brazilians‚ their only win against the teams vying for the championship.

That win went a long way in removing the criticism that the club has lacked big-match temperament since Komphela took over.

They will be looking to replicate that display against Matsatsantsa a Pitori on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup.

It is vital that Chiefs do well in that tournament as a season without a trophy for the club is a shock and two are a disaster.

Komphela has set some unwanted records at the club‚ from being the first to lose to Sundowns in a cup final to setting the club’s longest winless run.

“I strongly believe that the greatest growth happens in discomfort‚” Komphela said.

If you are too comfortable‚ you will never grow. You need setbacks to get great comebacks.”

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