Bucs kick off derby mind games: ‘Chiefs lack Komphela’s tactical acumen’

Orlando Pirates assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena has taken a disguised swipe at the Kaizer Chiefs bench by making clear his belief that the club are missing the tactical acumen of Steve Komphela. Amakhosi parted company with his former mentor as they approached a third straight trophyless season.

“Without sounding biased to my allegiance to Steve, losing Komphela is a big loss from a technical perspective,” Mokwena said after he was asked about the evolution of both Soweto giants at the Rand Stadium in Springfield on Monday.

READ MORE: Steve Komphela resigns as Kaizer Chiefs coach

“The type of leader he is, the tactical acumen that he possesses. If you compare the previous team to this team, from an organisational perspective, you can clearly see the lack of a coach of that calibre, without taking anything away from the current head coach [Giovanni Solinas]. You can see from the minutest of details the influence and the loss that has taken place.”

Komphela gave a young Mokwena his breakthrough after he promoted him from the junior team to assistant coach at Platinum Stars in 2009.

Pirates and Chiefs clash at the FNB Stadium on Saturday in the first Soweto Derby of the season. Both sides have enjoyed a reasonably strong start to the season, sitting second and third respectively, and it shows in the fact that tickets were sold out more than a week in advance.

There’s legitimate hope, perhaps more than expectation, that this will cancel out the recent trend of bore ties between the two.

READ MORE: Komphela has found his home

While his opinion of their tactical approach may have gone down, Mokwena was eager to praise Amakhosi’s off-field work in filling the right positions. The Glamour Boys secured the services of Khama Billiat, Mario Booysen and Lebogang Manyama among others.

“Moving on from the leadership with the personal they have made huge strides and they have improved dramatically. The acquisitions that they have made, the players that they have brought in have probably gone on to cover for the lack of technical expertise on the bench that was there last season.”

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Luke Feltham
Luke Feltham

Luke Feltham runs the Mail & Guardian's sports desk. He was previously the online day editor.

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