Hurting Komphela ready to switch focus from Sundowns defeat

25 November 2019 - 12:27 By Nick Said
Andile Jali shares a light moment with coach Steve Komphela after the match.
Andile Jali shares a light moment with coach Steve Komphela after the match.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

Lamontville Golden Arrows coach Steve Komphela says there is no time to dwell on his side’s Telkom Knockout semifinal defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday with two tough fixtures in the Absa Premiership this week.

Abafana Bes’thende were poor in the first half of their 2-1 loss‚ but rallied well in the second and almost took the tie to extra-time.

But the side‚ who are fourth in the league and could rise as high as second this week‚ must quickly switch focus.

The fixture computer has been kind to them as both away matches are in Limpopo against Baroka FC on Wednesday and Black Leopards on Saturday‚ meaning they can have a somewhat settled week without the heavy burden of travel in between.

“We have to change focus and quickly forget this. You can’t change it‚ we could have gone to the final …” Komphela said.

“I am going to give another level of thinking.

"Those who got knocked out when there were 16 teams‚ they are healed. Those who got knocked out when there were eight teams are still not completely healed.

“Those who are getting knocked out at four [teams left]‚ are feeling pain‚ but the team that loses in the final will have it worse.

“We still have a mission to complete in the Absa Premiership‚ we need to try and do as much as we can and push everybody.

“We are OK‚ we are set where we are [fourth place]. Look at where you are and where you need to go and so we need to focus on that.”

Komphela was seen having words with Sundowns striker Gaston Sirino‚ who was sent off for a lunging tackle‚ but says he offered comfort to the Uruguayan.

“I told him to stay calm‚ these things happen in football. You can imagine‚ this guy must walk past [the Golden Arrows dug-out] all by himself and there is already a lot of stuff hanging above his head …

“His bench was on the other side and he has to come across us. I know sports people and what is in his mind‚ and all I said was‚ ‘keep your head up‚ these things happen’.”

Komphela admits some frustration with his side’s first half display that allowed Sundowns to breeze into a 2-0 lead at the break‚ but says they must take heart by how they fought back in the second period.

“It was more a match of two halves‚ we had a first half that was lukewarm‚ but we had a much better second half where we played well and created chances.

“Maybe we have to go back and ask why we did not play the same way in the first half. Based on my assessment‚ the opponent played us recently and knew how we like to play.

“We insisted on trying to break through the middle and I thought we could have done better by going wide‚ with our wing backs pushing higher. We didn’t pitch in the first half.

“I am pleased with the performance in the second half‚ that at least the game gave them [the players] a goal. I thought we could also have equalised and taken it to extra-time.”

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