STEVE “Koloi” Komphela, the new Maritzburg United coach, admits he faces a tough task to try and stop the runaway Kaizer Chiefs train that has already established an eight-point gap at the Absa Premiership summit.
The two lock horns at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on tonight when Amakhosi will be aiming to make it 10 wins in a row.
Komphela was blunt in his assessment of coming up against the defending champions at this stage of the season, saying: “It’s the wrong time to be facing Chiefs, there’s no doubt about that. They are on a roll.”
The numbers too are all in favour of the Soweto giants, who have not beaten Chiefs on their home patch for over five years.
The last time they did win any meeting with them was in the 2011/12 season when a Cuthbert Malajila strike earned a 1-0 win.
The Team of Choice are now a team in transformation after Komphela took over last month.
“In terms of work relations, we are still new kids on the block,” he said. “The one good thing for us is the (3-2) win against Tuks (in our first game of the year last week). That certainly gave us a good boost.
“But it’s the wrong time to be playing Chiefs, that’s for sure.”
The one thing in the former Free State Stars coach’s favour is his record with his ex-team against Chiefs after they regularly struggled to overcome the Bethlehem-based outfit.
“I hope it (those past experiences) helps,” the Maritzburg coach said. “I was just thinking the other day, I hope Stuart comes, and because of the CAF fixtures and the next PSL fixtures, considering their position on the log, he would apply the English mentality…maybe resting his main team, which will be beneficial.”
He was referring to Chiefs playing in the CAF Champions League against Black Africa, who they beat 3-0, over the last weekend.
But Komphela was also hoping for a slightly lax approach from their opponents.
“Sometimes your strength can be your weakness,” he added. “The universe favours the underdogs and we will certainly go into the game as underdogs.
“When we play these guys, we want to prove a point, so it becomes even worse. I hope that whatever happens in the Chiefs camp has a negative effect on them and a positive for us.”
United are currently third bottom on the table and Komphela has no doubt they will beat relegation, adding: “We are going to survive, there’s no doubt about that. But it’s in no way going to be a walk in the park. There’s still a lot of work to be done and a lot of things that need attention. But we getting there.”-www.psl.co.za