/ 3 April 2012

Komphela reserved on Bafana move

Despite remaining cagey about his imminent move to be the Bafana Bafana coaching set-up, Steve Komphela has revealed he is willing to work with national coach Pitso Mosimane.

“In 2009, Pitso approached me regarding this matter,” Komphela said on Tuesday.

“I said to him, I’ve assisted with Bafana before when Stuart Baxter was the coach, so what can stop me from working with you?

“Pitso had requested, so he certainly didn’t have a problem with it back then.”

Komphela, who has done wonders with a modest Free State Stars outfit this season, is expected to soon be formally announced by the South African Football Association (Safa) as Mosimane’s assistant.

Until then, the usually talkative Komphela opted to remain mum on the subject.

In an email from the association to its executive members last week, which was leaked to the media, Safa said Komphela was formally appointed by the federation on a part-time basis as of April 1.

“We write to inform you of the intended appointment of Mr Steve Komphela, currently head coach of Free State Stars FC, as the part-time assistant coach of the men’s senior national team,” the email, signed by Safa chief executive Robin Peterson, read.

Recommended appointment
It was sent on Thursday, the same day Safa had scheduled a press conference to announce Komphela’s appointment. The conference was cancelled the day before.

“The appointment is in line with a recommendation from the Safa technical committee after a previous decision that a local coach be appointed to strengthen the technical staff of the team,” the email read.

“The technical committee asked me to engage with Mr Komphela as soon as possible and I am pleased that the coach has indicated his availability for this position.”

Safa said in the mail that Mosimane supported the appointment and went on to apologise to the national executive for the manner in which it was communicated.

“The head coach of the men’s senior national team, Mosimane, has also expressed his full support for this appointment.

“We do apologise for the manner in which communication was sent to NEC members earlier.

“We prepared a letter to send to all members the day before the formal announcement and the introduction of the coach to the media.

“But we were forced to send an sms message earlier today [Thursday] when we learned that the story was leaked to the media and the appointment became a subject of much speculation on various media platforms.

“Coach Komphela will assume his duties with Bafana Bafana on April 1 2012.”

New movement
Upon reading the email himself, Komphela opted to remain cautious after initially denying the new movement.

Instead, he said he was more concerned with his side’s Premiership clash against neighbours Bloemfontein Celtic in Phuthaditjhaba on Wednesday night.

“I’m not saying I’m avoiding the matter but right now I do have a duty at Stars,” Komphela said.

“If it [the Safa offer] comes, then I will be in assistance.

“I have a game against Celtic to think about, so we can speak after that.”

Bafana Bafana, having struggled for goals in recent matches, begin their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign against Ethiopia, at home, in May.

Their poor form in the run-up to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, which will be played in South Africa, resulted in Safa searching for another Bafana assistant, to join Mosimane and Brazilian Jaero Leal.

Komphela was firmly in Mosimane’s corner, insisting the national team had been successful in his first year in charge.

“We are quick to forget in South Africa and focus only on the negative things, and this will take us nowhere,” he said. — Sapa