Ailing Chiefs face must win in Cape Town

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

Loss to SuperSport has Komphela under pressure

The embers of discontent were unmistakable in the stands at the FNB Stadium on Saturday night and Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela will be desperate to prevent them from blowing up into a flame in the coming days.

Chiefs’ defeat to SuperSport United in the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup at the 2010 World Cup final venue will have suddenly turned the screws on the coach as the league title now represents the last chance for silverware for Amakhosi this season.

Komphela has led a pretty charmed life since the beginning of the year and has not had to deal with the angry fans who attended Chiefs games hell-bent on making life difficult for him towards the end of last year.

The Chiefs coach will want to show that he still has things under control when his charges face leaders Cape Town City in a must-win league match at the Cape Town Stadium tonight.

The third-placed Chiefs are a point behind the leaders and a victory in Cape Town will go a long way towards calming the grumblings that greeted the defeat to SuperSport.

Given that Chiefs face the possibility of finishing a second season in a row without winning a trophy and City are starting to believe they can win a maiden league title‚ tonight’s showdown could be explosive.

Komphela conceded that the trip to Cape Town would not be a walk in the park‚ given City’s tenacity under coach Eric Tinkler.

“They are lethal on the transition. They are set up nicely and they know how to screen‚ and once they get the ball they come straight at you‚” he said.

“So that’s one thing that you need to be careful about. And we need to be careful that our game model does not play into their hands.

“We know that on transitions they will punish you like they have never seen goalposts before.”

Fellow title challengers Bidvest Wits (second on the standings) and Mamelodi Sundowns (fourth) will all be in action on a night where even a draw could prove costly to the chasing sides.

As Komphela himself rightfully pointed out a couple of days ago: “It’s squeaky bum time.”

Tinkler is challenging his players to make use of a potential oncein-a-lifetime chance and go for broke in their last six matches of the season.

“Look‚ it’s a tough game and a must-win‚” he said at a pre-match media conference yesterday.

“We’ve reached that stage of the season now where we having nothing to lose.

“But we also have to throw everything at it and go for it. “We need to be motivated.” Tinkler said he and his squad had talked about the longevity of a professional sportsman and the opportunities that arose in a career.

“Careers at the top of sport are very short‚ eight to 10 years maximum if you are playing at the highest level.

“The opportunity only comes once in a lifetime and you have to be able to grasp it.

“Going for a title should push you and motivate you.

“We had a long discussion around that opportunity‚ you know it might never come again. – Additional reporting by Mark Gleeson

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