July 29 2017 – SATURDAY’s Carling Black Label Cup match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates may be a mere pre-season contest, but both coaches know exactly what is expected of them.
In fact, it could be said that both Steve Komphela and Kjell Jonevret are walking barefoot on thorns.
There is absolutely no doubt that Steve Komphela is in the frying pan this season as he enters his third year in charge at Chiefs, still chasing his elusive first piece of silverware.
The ambiguous tactician knows that, if he doesn’t win anything again this season, he can quietly pack up and leave without neither trying to justify nor confuse anyone with his sweet tongue in seeking to be given more time at Naturena.
How well the team plays this season will be secondary for the 50 year-old, because all he will be judged on will be the trophies won and not chances created. The polished post-match interviews won’t matter either.
Even if Chiefs dominate all their games with 90% possession, that won’t count as well if it doesn’t bring results and silverware on the table – it is as simple as that.
Mr Komphela, these are the trophies that count: MTN8, Telkom KnockOut, Nedbank Cup and ABSA Premiership, with their level of importance in reverse order.
Luckily for Komphela, he is at a club that practices patience and always extends the length of the rope for the coach to hang himself.
For Pirates’s Kjell Jonevret who albeit has been at Pirates for a vastly shorter period, it appears he is ‘going nowhere slowly’ and struggling to sort out the mess that he inherited.
For all the courage that he can choose to show he is just a man waiting for the hangman’s noose, considering all the whispers in the corridors that his position has already been offered to another man – Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic.
It is no secret that the Swede is already being made to feel the discomfort that comes with being in the most difficult club-coaching job in South Africa.
Flights back home to Stockholm might have already been booked behind his back, as the 55 year-old himself is probably no longer sure why he took up the job in the first place, because not much seems to have changed since his arrival.
He might feel hard done by that he hasn’t been given enough time at the club, but then again this is how it happens in SA – just ask one Jean Yves Kerjean, who was previously fired after just one game at Black Leopards.
For all the support that Pirates enjoy in important places – including parliament – they have always been a club that tends to be difficult to understand in matters relating to coaches.
The basis of judging coaches is confusing at Pirates: Roy Barreto, Gordon Igesund and Ruud Krol all won the league for the club, but couldn’t continue in charge the next season for reasons best known by The Bucs hierarchy.
Julio Leal won both trophies that he competed for in his brief time at the club, but was still asked to step aside, while Kosta Papic never won anything for the club but remains a celebrated figure.
Eric Tinkler recently showed potential of heading in the right direction by reaching the CAF Confederations Cup final in only his first year as a head coach in the PSL, but was also told to go instead of being offered the permanent post.
Like they say in these circles, ‘Mr Jonevret, you will have to be strong,’ and really strong in this instance. –KickOff