A tricky week in which Kaizer Chiefs beat Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates drew with Platinum Stars provided Amakhosi coach Steve Komphela with some tactical answers‚ he said after the Soweto derby draw on Saturday.
After beating Sundowns 2-1 at FNB Stadium on Tuesday night‚ Komphela‚ who entered the week under pressure from his own fans and battling a string of devastating injuries‚ oversaw a 0-0 draw against Pirates at FNB Stadium.
The pundits might have predicted a far worse outcome for Chiefs‚ and perhaps even for Komphela and after the Pirates game‚ Komphela said‚ half-jokingly: “Three points plus one equals four. And four out of six is a pass mark.”
A clever three-man central defence (Siyabonga Ngezana‚ Daniel Cardoso and Mulomowandau Mathoho) gameplan‚ with Joseph Molangoane and Philani Zulu at wingback‚ showed Komphela’s ability to adapt to his extreme injury situation.
“It was a bit tricky that we played a good week against Sundowns‚ and you’re saying that you’re quite aware of the strengths of Orlando Pirates‚” the coach said after the derby.
“In the matches we have watched they have changed things. Sometimes they play 4-3-3‚ then they play 4-2-3-1‚ and they are very difficult to predict.
“Even today we got the team sheet and there were already four changes [from Bucs’ 1-1 home draw against bottom-placed Platinum Stars on Wednesday. And then when you look at the template you wonder‚ ‘Is it as I see it or not?’
“And even with a 4-2-3-1 they never had a No. 10. They hid the No. 10. They never had wingers. In fact‚ they played a replica of a game we prefer [to utilise].
“Their wingbacks were on top‚ and then their wingers were inside overloading the midfield.
“Maybe they knew that there was a possibility that we would not change what was not broken. Because the result and the performance that that we got in Pretoria‚ and also facing the [injury] challenges that we are going through‚ I thought it was only logical.
“As for my lessons from this week‚ it’s OK. We would have loved to have had three points [against Pirates]. It was a hectic week.
“But what you pick up is that maybe in the three-man defence‚ what are the weaknesses and strengths in comparison [from the Pirates game] with [what we saw against] Sundowns?
“You have to analyse the two. There are quite a number of things that I thought that we did well against Sundowns.
“And those are things you look at in terms of players and tactical variation – do they adjust quickly‚ do they understand? “Because if you saw in today’s match we had Willard Katsande behind George Maluleka and Pule Ekstein in midfield. And we changed the triangle to Maluleka and Katsande behind Pule.
“And after that we introduced a striker [Gustavo Paez for Ekstein in the 55th minute]. You’re trying to manipulate the game to a point where you dominate the opponent. Try come up with strategies.
“But those are all things that you look at‚ and when you debrief you will point at what we could have improved.
“Matches of this nature could be won on set plays. I thought we could have‚ if we had been a bit more concentrated.”
Chiefs next meet AmaZulu in the Telkom Knockout last-16 at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.