It’s make-or-break time for Komphela

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That challenge starts tonight at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, where Amakhosi visit a Mpumalanga Black Aces that - like their opponents - experienced a terrible slump in these later stages of the Absa Premiership.

The poor results have cost Chiefs their league title, while Aces might fall short of their top four target.

But it’s Komphela who is back in the spotlight after more than three weeks since their last match - a goalless draw in Ivory Coast where they faced ASEC Mimosas in the second leg of their CAF Champions League first round tie, which effectively ended their campaign in the continental tournament.

It was also Chiefs’ seventh match without a win in all competitions.

That has put strain on the coach’s already fragile relationship with the fans, who believe Komphela - a former Free State Stars, Platinum Stars, Maritzburg United and (interim) Bafana Bafana coach - is an underachiever.

Motaung, the Amakhosi chairman, last week confirmed that Komphela will remain in charge beyond the current campaign as he could not be judged on a season where rebuilding was a possibility following the departure of Stuart Baxter.

But the boss still set a mandate for the coach, urging him to aim for a runners-up spot in the Premier League table, as unlikely as that now seems.

In simple terms, Motaung wants the winning mentality to return to Naturena tonight - a tough task given the fact that Komphela’s men have not scored a goal in five matches, four of which ended in defeats.

Perhaps Chiefs players can perform better knowing their coach, who had to be ushered to a post-match press conference by a police escort in their previous home game, has been given the green light to continue next season despite failure to bring in any silverware in his first campaign.

Aces, however, are no slouches and might feel they are finally over their bad patch and can be bold enough to cause an upset to register their first victory since January 30.

A victory will push Amazayoni to fifth place, which is currently occupied by Chiefs.

There’s a lot to play for tonight and Komphela cannot look to the future just yet.

He will welcome new faces at Chiefs from July 1, but the available old guard - captain Siphiwe Tshabalala, Tsepo Masilela and Bernard Parker to name a few - still have to do a job for him to guarantee Motaung doesn’t change his tune.

The coach has been told he will be sparred the chop, but there are clearly some conditions to that promise, and getting back to winnings ways is high up on the list.

The problem is that Chiefs have forgotten how to win and this was demonstrated when they equalled a 2012 unwanted record of four losses in a row when Doctor Khumalo and Donald Khuse were co-coaches shortly after volatile Serbian mentor Vladimir Vermezovic was sacked.

Motaung hates having a revolving door for coaches, hence last week’s public support for the beleaguered Komphela. But the coach must still prove he has earned it - even with a squad that has surrendered the league title, failed to win the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout finals and got booted out of the Nedbank Cup in the opening round by rivals Orlando Pirates. - The Star

Original source: It’s make-or-break time for Komphela

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