SuperSport United (1) 1
FNB Stadium - It might still be too early to talk about Kaizer Chiefs’ fading Absa Premiership title aspirations, but a fifth game without a win suggests Amakhosi will not offer much as championship contenders this season
Steve Komphela’s men were supposed to show intent on Wednesday night against a SuperSport United side that has been improving following the arrivals of Stuart Baxter, a two-times league winner with Chiefs between 2012 and 2015, by winning the Nedbank Cup in May and face Orlando Pirates in the semi-finals of the Telkom Knockout on Saturday in Nelspruit.
The first half here was promising as Amakhosi put their visitors under immense pressure, but could not convert an flood of chances until SuperSport broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark through a stunning Thabo Mnyamane goal.
@KaizerChiefs: 6 games without a win. You guys need help?— Zimasile (@StillZim) November 23, 2016
George Lebese, who has watched the previous two matches from the Chiefs bench, marked his returned to the starting line-up with a goal just seconds after Mnyamane had connected with a delightful Jeremy Brockie cross. Amakhosi had grown in confidence having come from behind in what was arguably their best performance to date in this current campaign.
It was an open game and SuperSport, too, had their opportunities, but this all changed in the second, as expected. Both teams were more cautious and compact. However, when Komphela decided to replace goal scorer Lebese in the 73rd minute by bringing on Emmanuel Letlotlo, Amakhosi’s chances of finally ending their winless run seemed to disappear along with that substitution.
This - the chopping and changing - has been Komphela’s undoing in his tenure so far as Chiefs coach. He’d made headlines and sparked corridor and public conversations about his style of play.
On Wednesday night, the Amakhosi mentor ditched the 3-4-3 formation that has not been well received given that in the two defeats against Free State Stars in the quarter-final of the Telkom Knockout and Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday afternoon in a league match, Komphela used defenders Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Sibusiso Khumalo as wing-backs.
It was a highly offensive approach, he said. But Chiefs conceded four goals and were a little bit exposed against Sundowns. The line-up he picked against SuperSport had three changes from the side that lost 2-1 to the Brazilians, with Lebese and Edmore Chirambadare - natural wingers - used out on the flanks to give striker Michelle Katsvairo support in search for goals.
While it appeared to work in the first half, Chiefs retreated when they emerged from the dugout and overshadowed the impressive showing they had put on display here.
On another night, a point for Komphela may have somehow earned him applause from the Amakhosi fans, but the boo-brigade made a return to FNB Stadium for the umpteenth time.
Loud chants of “Steve Must go” reverberated around the Calabash, even though it was small fraction of Chiefs fans.
SuperSport are building a championship winning team, while Chiefs are regressing under the tutelage of Komphela, who was afforded enough time to perhaps rebuild and adapt to the Amakhosi culture in a barren maiden season.
More is expected in his second year and he came up short tonight against Baxter, a man who hit the ground running when he was appointed Chiefs coach as he clinched the Premier League title in his very first attempt.
Komphela will need the banking of his management if he is to show he is the right man for the job, but on the evidence of tonight and the past five matches in all competitions, the Glamour Boys are falling off the pace as genuine title contenders.
Original source: Chiefs fans say ‘Steve Must Go’ after SuperSport draw