They say football fans have a short memory, but it is not always the case especially when it comes to failed tenures for coaches at big clubs. Ask David Moyes he will tell you he has come to be defined by his stay – short as it might have been compared to the ten years he spent at Everton – at Manchester United. Prior to that, he had done an admirable job at Everton which in turn had got him the gig at Old Trafford. As they say though, the grass is not always green on the other side. Moyes found out the hard way and until this day he can’t take off that stain in his CV. Here in South Africa we have Steve Komphela in charge of one of the biggest clubs in the country but seems like he is out of his depth.
Does Steve Komphela have an aura of David Moyes about him? Are there similarities between his and Moyes’s journeys to the top job. Both took over after successful stints at unfashioned sides, both were highly regarded, both had/have never won a trophy as a coach, both took over after league winning campaigns from the previous managers. Both took over from highly respected coaches, managers with a track record, both inherited aging squads that had “won” it all. Both squads had big characters, club legends whose effect on the playing field was waning. They may be from two different worlds but these two men’s journeys are quite similar. The other is still hanging on but the other didn’t last long. Is the Chiefs job too big for Steve? You could argue Kaizer Chiefs has the same standing in South African football as Manchester United has in England. Were the two men the right appointments for the two respective clubs? We already have the answer for the latter, but will Steve Komphela survive long enough to break his trophy hoodoo? Recent signs are not good.
Closer introspection shows that Komphela and Moyes were two men who arrived at the right place at the wrong time. It might just be that Komphela needs to move on to a lesser club like Moyes did. Chiefs might have been a step too far for him.
Its early days in the season but one would be forgiven for believing this is the same old Chiefs or isn’t it? Almost half way through the new campaign, same old problems are derailing Chiefs. At the end of Komphela’s first year in charge, they off loaded twenty players in a much publicized clear out and many a fan saw this as a welcome sight, a new start after a barren campaign, a poor season by their high standards. Komphela could build his own team from there on as many felt he was harshly judged considering he inherited an aging squad without much quality. Of late Chiefs have been accused of signing quantity rather than quality, it was the same last term, bar William Thwala, almost all their signings failed to sparkle. It was eventually dubbed a season of transition, a write off, a time to settle for Komphela. This season started with the change in his backroom staff and few acquisitions. There were no notable signings; a few youngsters from their junior development were promoted rather. Yes it’s still early but the signs are not good, having failed to address past season’s problems, Kaizer Chiefs fans expected more quality. Two domestic trophies have come and gone, Komphela is under immense pressure, the supporters are calling for his head.
Can’t Chiefs management learn from their past mistakes? When Komphela walked in at Naturena, he spoke of fertile lands that are good for harvesting; he spoke of the expectations and promised to deliver a trophy or two. Nothing of that sort has come to fruition bar the big words which have become synonymous with his interviews. The supporters were skeptical about his appointment in the first place, they questioned his credentials; it was but a difficult relationship from day one.
Lack of support – quality signings from management has not helped matters. Komphela has been hung out to dry. His just like Moyes, is a story of a man who arrived at the right place at the wrong time. Not that there is ever a right time in football, after all they say it is a result business and his record does not paint a good picture.
The fertile lands he spoke about on arrival have turned into dry lands. So long Steve…