There was no way I could compromise Ekstein‚ says embattled Chiefs coach Komphela

24 August 2017 - 12:06 By Marc Strydom
Embattled Kaizer Chiefs head coach Steve Komphela during the Absa Premiership match against SuperSport United at FNB Stadium on August 23, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Embattled Kaizer Chiefs head coach Steve Komphela during the Absa Premiership match against SuperSport United at FNB Stadium on August 23, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Beleaguered Steve Komphela believes he made the right decision replacing one centreback with another after Mulomowandau Mathoho’s seventh-minute dismissal in Kaizer Chiefs’ 2-1 Absa Premiership defeat against SuperSport United on Wednesday night.

Faced with 10 men before the game had even got into its stride at FNB Stadium‚ Komphela took some time – 10 minutes to be exact – to react.

During that time Aubrey Modiba headed SuperSport ahead.

When the substitution came‚ it took everyone by surprise. Daniel Cardoso replaced Lorenzo Gordinho in a centreback swap.

Komphela’s decision not to remove an attacker and pack his midfield‚ leaving Willard Katsande moved to central defence‚ seemed to give SuperSport an advantage.

They ran rampant in the first half‚ even if they could only add one more injury-time goal by Bradley Grobler.

Komphela‚ though‚ said that the manner in which Amakhosi improved in the second half‚ pulling a goal back by Gustavo Paez‚ proved he had made the right move.

“It looked crazy at the beginning. What happens on the bench is something very special – you have to be there to live it and understand‚” Chiefs’ coach said.

“And as soon as that happened you ask yourself questions immediately. Because we had to take time and think‚ what do we do?

“Do you take out an offensive player‚ and put a centreback – release Katsande into the midfield. Or do you leave Katsande there to deal with things‚ and see what you can do.

“We left it‚ left it‚ left it‚ for a while. And it was clear that a change has to be made. And there was no way you would compromise a ‘Pule’ (Hendrick Ekstein) or a ‘Shabba’ (Siphiwe Tshabalala)‚ who I thought both did well‚ or Bernard Parker.

“And then saying to you – the decision was right. And the centre got quiet and solid. Katsande assisted us a lot. And that’s why we played a much better game in the second half‚ one man down.

“Had it been otherwise I’m sure the decision would be questioned. The easiest question in life to ask is‚ ‘Why?’. But we as coaches have to take decisions on what we see.

“I thought what we saw was exactly what was happening and we came through. I thought the decision was right.”

Despite Komphela’s assurances it was hard to see his thinking.

SuperSport added another goal after the substitution‚ and it should have been more.

Packing his midfield would have seemed Komphela’s best move to negate SuperSport’s numerical advantage.

Removing Katsande from anchorman role seemed to take the one man out of the equation who could have saved the game from midfield‚ to where the Zimbabwean could be less influential at centreback.

The substitution seemed a schoolboy error. Early in his tenure at Chiefs Komphela could perhaps afford some of those.

Now‚ under such pressure‚ the results not coming with three games in 2017-18 and no win‚ the disgruntlement in the stands growing‚ he cannot.

Yet such decisions sometimes also are the result of pressure. It’s a tough situation to be in.

- TimesLIVE

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