AFC Eskilstuna
6:00 PM UTC
Leg 1
Game Details

Steve Komphela looking forward after Telkom Knockout progression

The gloom around Kaizer Chiefs has lifted after a spell of recent positive results, which culminated in Saturday's 3-0 victory over AmaZulu, as the Amakhosi sealed a place in the Telkom Knockout quarter finals.

The win came as a relief for coach Steve Komphela, who believes his side are growing in confidence and have now turned the corner.

He outlined his optimism when he spoke to the media after the weekend's victory in Durban:

How worried are you about this barren trophy run under your tenure as coach?

Komphela: I am a man of process and any man of process must be selfless and ensure that the vision of the institution is being pushed. Play your role until they say, 'he has played his part'.

It is about the process and not the person, but I would love to see Chiefs winning trophies every week, every month and every year. With or without me.

Any match for Chiefs is very important, and if you downplay the fact that we have not been winning things, it will come across 'otherwise'. If you give an answer that is opposite to that...Chiefs just have to win things.

Winning trophies is the utmost, so the importance there is obvious.

The switch to a back three may have been brought about by injuries to key defenders, but it seems to be working for you?

Komphela: Slowly, slowly we are maturing. If you remember [Antonio] Conte at Chelsea, he was playing a back four. Then he got irritated and threw his toys, and went to a back five. That was the turning point for Chelsea.

We also went through our own set-backs with not having Rama [Mphahlele] and [Kgotso] Moleko, so we said, 'let's improvise, but use our brains and think'.

Initially, we were cautious to secure the defence, but as it went on we started to release the players a little bit [to get forward on attack].

A back three is quite fluid, solid and there is a level of understanding. It also comes out of confidence. There will be matches where we just play and win because confidence and luck is coming. I think we are getting there, but we shouldn't get carried away.

You have been hesitant to make wholesale changes, even when things are not going well. You obviously believe in this group of players...

Komphela: If you go back at teams that have been relegated [from the PSL] before, the number of players they have used is big. With the same thinking you would say that any team that has won the Championship would know their starting XI just like that.

There was an analysis done about Liverpool and the number of players they have used in previous seasons and this season, and that raised the question about what does consistency in selection do? It is OK to have a consistent selection.

We do not have a big squad, we are sitting on 20/21 players and you have to box clever. If it isn't broken, why fix it without being too predictable?

Do you think that makes you too predictable?

Komphela: You can never have all the answers in football. If you say you will not change your team, people will say you are too predictable.

If you change and you play 4-3-3, 3-5-2, 3-6-1, 4-4-2, or whatever, they say, 'this guy is not settled, he is not consistent'.

Maybe we should rather just say we are happy with the results that are forthcoming and that we should wish these kids the best and that they stay injury-free.

Pule Ekstein had a fine game against AmaZulu, is he finally coming of age as a playmaker?

Komphela: We are always on his case and there are a couple of things he still needs to work on to become a threat, but confidence-wise he has grown.

What is apparent is that on receiving the ball, he is now going forward and effecting the game. Previously he would play square or play back without wanting to take risks.

An Ekstein who is high with confidence, with the skills that he has, is a big threat. He is very quick with calculations, in fact he is more of a genius. I hope we will get to a level where he is consistent though.


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