Half-Time Orange For Thought; Too Soon To Call It, The Steve Komphela Debate

The Prodigal Son Returns | Steve Komphela
Komphela(rebuildingA Giant)
In A State Of Transition | Kaizer Chiefs


Dissected with the attention to detail of a legendary Masterchef 2nd season casting outcast , your good mate Uncle Bob serves up his weekly Half-Time Orange For Thought; a mental morsel for the sports fanatic with a healthy appetite for wholesome consumables. We at GSV have reluctantly declared ourselves accountable for any digestion difficulties that may or may not occur. Enjoy!

South African bred football coaches are quickly becoming the flavour of the season, with the number of largely unknown foreign names beginning to diminish as more & more club owners and administrators wise up to the latent fact that local is indeed lekker. One of the most inspirational members of this new wave of successful and ambitious local gaffers is a man whose name has been in headlines since his appointment as Kaizer Chiefs coach on a 3 year contract at the start of the season. A former Kaizer Chiefs player and captain, Stephen Mbuyiselo Komphela’s homecoming to the AmaKhosi may not be going as some had hoped initially, yet the man does not deserve to have his head placed underneath the managerial guillotine just yet.

The well-spoken and good mannered Komphela showed incredible brevity and commendable ambition to step up and want to take over the reins at Kaizer Chiefs, after they had just enjoyed one of their most successful spells in recent memory under the tutelage of a good coach who was well loved and respected by the AmaKhosi supporters. Steve is a talented coach who has earned the chance to display his skills at the highest level with a team that can match his ambition and dedication to growth on & off the field, as a gaffer of smaller teams in South African football, Komphela proved his mantle and helped lesser fancied sides overachieve and develop into good football playing teams that were as competitive as they were entertaining. While his appointment may have initially divided opinion amongst the extended Kaizer Chiefs family, with his lack of silverware & big team experience being used as reasons for his unsuitability for the job; yet one feels as if the AmaKhosi would be in great hands if they allow Steve to build his team and impose his ideology fully before sharpening & wielding that managerial axe.

Replacing the highly successful Stuart Baxter was always going to be a tall order for any coach; yet the polar opposites between the two coaches was bound to necessitate the need for a season of bedding in for Komphela, when we take those inevitable teething pains into consideration and combine them with the loss of highly experienced and talented personnel, we can begin to fully fathom some of the numerous challenges Steve faced when he “stepped into the lion’s den”, to use his own eloquent words.

Playing Style


Stuart Baxter implored the side to play typical British football with good pressing in key positions & the pace in attacking positions to hurt their opposition with transitions after winning the ball back higher up the field, before looking to then control the tempo of the game after gaining the ascendency in the tie.
Steve Komphela, on the other hand, prefers for his side to try control the game from the onset & use their quality to create chances while putting the opposition under constant pressure while attempting to dominate possession and play with the handbrake off.
Such a drastic change in playing style was bound to take some adjusting to for the players, fans and top level management alike; yet one must acknowledge that Komphela’s changes have made for a more entertaining Kaizer Chiefs and that success is heart-warming to those of us who believe that Mzansi Diski was losing its identity due to a plethora of clubs playing counter attacking European football with players that were developed to play a certain brand of attacking football that allows their genuine strengths to come to the fore naturally.

Player Management


There has been much written about Steve’s inability to bring silverware to Naturena thus far, yet the man has reached two finals and stayed in the challenge for league honours with a transitional squad that does indeed lack the superstar quality that Kaizer Chiefs fans had become accustomed to having don their legendary Black & Gold strip in yesteryears. Mr. Komphela has had to reshuffle the roster at Kaizer Chiefs due to player departures, dips in form, unforeseen injuries and the natural progression of age catching up to some of the key players under Baxter’s reign.

Truth be told, Stuart Baxter pulled a Jose Mourinho on Kaizer Chiefs; for all the success and silverware he brought to the club, his poor roster management left the new gaffer in a precarious position when it came to the quality in depth available within the team. Under the tutelage of Steve Komphela, the AmaKosi have begun to see some of their academy graduates and other previously lesser known quantities stepping up into the 1st team squad and begin to showcase their qualities.
Players like Riyaad Pieterse, Lorenzo “uBaba Ka Sbongile” Gordinho, Lucky “Sheriff” Baloyi (The Authentic One, J), William Twala & Hendrick “Pule” Ekstein have all stepped into pivotal roles since Sir Steve took over the reins & the entertainment value has returned on the field once again due to this injection of younger legs into a starting unit that was beginning to look long in the tooth under Baxter.
Steve Komphela deserves to be given a fair crack at assembling and training his side to play according to his ideology and fulfil the mandate set before him when he took control of one of the hottest coaching jobs in sports on the African continent.

A highly respected man-manager with a good tactical approach and a great knowledge of football, Steve’s side is in that Stuart Baxter realm of transition, and those calling for his head would do very well to practise a degree of patience if they desire to see their beloved team return to trophy winning ways while playing an entertaining style of football that is befitting of the global Kaizer Chiefs brand.
Ask me how I feel regarding Steve Komphela’s performance as Kaizer Chiefs coach thus far, and I’d safely say it just too soon to call it; after less than a full season at the helm of a great club in need of stability during a phase of rebuilding, Kaizer Chiefs fans should be questioning some of their household names and their performances instead of pointing the finger at a gaffer who has done relatively well thus far.

Steve Komphela


Full Name: Stephen Mbuyiselo Komphela

DoB: July 1st, 1967 (48)

PoB: Golden Valley Farm, Kroonstad; Free State

Playing Role: Defender

Playing Experience: Klerksdorp City, Free State (Qwa Qwa) Stars, Kaizer Chiefs, Gaziantepspor, Dardanelspor (353 Games; 25 Goals); 24 South African Caps

Previous Coaching Experience: Manning Rangers, Dynamos FC, South Africa u/20, Maritzburg United, South Africa u/23, Free State Stars, Platinum Stars, Free Sate Stars, South Arica (Assistant Coach), South Africa (Interim Coach), Maritzburg United

Select Coaching Record:

Club Spell Games Won Drawn Lost Win %
FS Stars Nov 18th, 2008 – June 30th, 2009 & Oct 20th, 2010 – Dec 1st, 2013 127 48 40 39 37.80
Platinum Stars July 1st, 2009 – June 30th, 2009 30 9 4 17 30
Maritzburg United Jan 1st, 2007 – Jan 9th, 2007 & Jan 6th, 2014 – July 2nd, 2015 47 17 14 16 36.17
Kaizer Chiefs July 3rd, 2015 – Present 29 15 10 4 51.72
Total 233 89 68 76 38.20

2 thoughts on “Half-Time Orange For Thought; Too Soon To Call It, The Steve Komphela Debate

  1. My reply or comment is a little bit tardy but, I would like to give it nevertheless and hopefully get a reply inn return.
    In terms of the differences in playing style between Sir Baxter and Professor Komphela, it goes without saying that there will be a difference between how the two gentleman want the game to be played. It is my opinion that Steve would have been better served making small alterations to the way the team played previously than to bring about wholesale changes and then expect the performances of the team to remain the same, if not improve.
    I would understand the underachievement of the club if he had come in and said out with the old guard and in with the youngsters, there would be that sense of building a squad if that were the case. Most of the squad he put out in the first half of the season was for the most part the same one that won a double last season. How then is the underachievement justified?
    With regards to player management or roster management, yes, Baxter could’ve given more of the academy lad a proper chance, but he can’t be for the problem of an ageing squad. Blame for that problem surely must be placed squarely on Bobby Motaung. He is the team manager and the one who decides who is bought and who is sold.
    Steve has done a lot of good things at Chiefs, but he seems to lack the ability motivate his players for big matches, they seem to shrink under the pressure and go into their shells. This aspect of his management or coaching has to be addressed if Chiefs are really to challenge for silverware next season


    1. You make some good points; but the reality is that Steve didn’t have the squad, nor the support needed to be better than Downs or Wits on paper last season, and it was proven on the field.
      There will be no excuses this season, he has had time to implement his ideology & get the players he wants in… Now we can gauge how good his is for Khosi, last season is not a fair measuring stick when we consider all the factors he had to deal with.
      It promises to be an open league season this time around, let’s hope you aren’t disappointed as a fan.



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