Komphela not afraid to lash whip to continue Celtic success

Bloemfontein Celtic have been recognised for their superb start to the season with Steve Komphela and Alfred Ndengane winning PSL coach and player of the month respectively.

The duo were unveiled at the league’s Parktown offices on Monday and have the privilege of being the first to accept the award this term.

Siwelele are unbeaten so far, drawing only once in their fantastic fightback from 2-0 down away to Kaizer Chiefs at the end of the month. Such form sees them tied at the top of the table with Bidvest Wits, whose coach, Gavin Hunt, was Komphela’s main competition for the award. SuperSport United’s Kaitano Tembo had an outside chance.

Upon receiving the award, Komphela revealed that despite leaving Limpopo after snatching a win at Black Leopards – not an easy feat – he lashed into his players after the final whistle.

“The fight was based purely on the mentality, the mindset,” he said. “We don’t want to be mediocre. The reverse process from mediocrity to an upright posture and effectiveness is to eliminate complacency, eliminate comfort, eliminate familiarity.

“We got a result 3 points, but there are a lot of negatives we went through. At the back of an outcome, you point to the negatives – human beings can handle that. Because the level of confidence is so high, they need to be brought back to Mother Earth.

The coach of the month could be seen as a milestone on Komphela’s personal journey to vindication. His three year stint at Chiefs ended in ignominy earlier this year after he was essentially forced to resign following a string of performances that left the Amakhosi faithful in uproar.

“It calls for emotional intelligence,” he said of maintaining a high level of performance. “There’s IQ, AQ, EQ, CQ – there’s just so many … There’s the physical quotient, how much pain can you take. If you are a man with a high physical quotient you can be hammered and hammered and hammered because you are so matured physically, you don’t feel the pain.”

Celtic are over a third of the way to a 36-point haul – a realist point of PSL safety – and murmurs are beginning to emerge that we could be looking at genuine title contenders. Komphela, however, is entertaining none of it.

“We have to be careful and cautious, on the back of appreciation and recognition, you still need to stay on your toes and keep working,” he continued. I hope this recognition won’t bring an element of comfort where we end up not taking our jobs seriously. The only way to consistently have the will to win, there must be room to prepare. As much as our preparations here and there would have their own problems, there was that willingness, that commitment, that focus to say we want to achieve.”

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Luke Feltham
Luke Feltham is a features writer at the Mail & Guardian

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