Ntokozo Gumede
Football Writer
2 minute read
11 May 2021
7:00 am

On the verge of glory: Phakama Komphela, ixesha lifikile

Ntokozo Gumede

Komphela’s empty trophy cabinet is not for a lack of trying as he has reached a couple of cup finals in his career.

Coach Steve Komphela is on the verge of lifting his first trophy as a coach. Pic: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix


In almost two decades of coaching, Steve Komphela stands at the periphery of glory as he looks set to pose with his first gold medal and as a coach. That will only be if Mamelodi Sundowns win the DStv Premiership where they need just two wins from their remaining four league games.

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The title would be Masandawana’s fourth on the spin and would be another medal for co-head coaches Manqoba Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena, who have enjoyed plenty of success with the Chloorkop-based side. But for Komphela, it would be his first taste of success.

Komphela’s empty trophy cabinet is not for a lack of trying as he has reached a couple of cup finals in his career. The most recent was when he guided Kaizer Chiefs to two cup finals in his maiden season at the helm of the Glamour Boys.

His first final with Amakhosi was in the 2015/16 when he guided the side to the MTN8 final where they lost against the now defunct Ajax Cape Town. The Chiefs side of that time boasted of veterans Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Tsepo Masilela and Siboniso Gaxa, with Sphiwe Tshabalala captaining the team.

They lost 1-0 to Roger De Sa’s side thanks to a 56th-minute penalty by Nathan Paulse, who has since hung up his boots. In that season Komphela looked like he had something good going on in Naturena as he reached yet another cup final.

It was the Telkom Knockout where, unfortunately, his current employers were the ones who caused yet another heartbreak. Sundowns completely outclassed Komphela’s side in the final that took place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

The Brazilians still boasted of the famous “CBD” made up of Leonardo Castro, Khama Billiat and Keagan Dolly and Castro and Billiat would go on to trade Masandawana for the gold and black while Dolly moved overseas.

Goals from Thabo Nthethe, Hlompho Kekana and Castro made sure that Downs won the tie 3-1 as Camaldine Abraw scored the consolation for Chiefs. Now, Sundowns are on the verge of defending the championship and Komphela, who Downs prefer to call him a senior coach, is in line to pop the champagne for the first time with – for a change this time – a gold medal wrapped around his neck, instead of the usual silver.