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Steve Komphela vs. Benni McCarthy: Which coach will be victorious on Saturday?

19:44 GMT+3 15/02/2018
Benni and Komphela
Ahead of the weekend's crunch encounter, Goal breaks down the match-up between the two coaches

Kaizer Chiefs are set to lock horns with Cape Town City in what can only be described as a must-win encounter considering both side’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) title aspirations.

Amakhosi and the Citizens are currently seven points adrift of log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, and it is difficult to fathom that any side who finds themselves on the losing end on Saturday would still believe that they still have a chance at the league title. But while all eyes will be on the 22 players who take to the field on game day, ahead of the clash Goal looks to break down the matchup between the two coaches.

This season, much has already been said about both sets of coaches. While Chiefs head coach Steve Komphela in particular, has been consistently under fire for a lack of trophies since taking over at the club, his opposite number Benni McCarthy has enjoyed an impressive rise up the football coaching ladder.

McCarthy may just be a coaching novice but he has shown that he can handle the pressure of being in the technical area. The Cape Town-born mentor boasts an impressive winning record already in the South African top flight, having won nine out of his first 20 games, two games better than Chiefs.

However, it is also important to note that while Komphela is not only McCarthy’s senior in terms of age but coaching experience as well, the former Uefa Champions League winner has won as many domestic trophies as Komphela - which is none, and this is perhaps why the pressure is growing on the Chiefs mentor. In a coaching career which has spanned over a decade and has seen him coach clubs such as Maritzburg United, Free State Stars and Platinum Stars among others, Komphela is yet to make the leap to becoming a coach with a winning pedigree. While he has previously witnessed sides under his mentorship finish second in the Telkom Knockout and MTN 8, Komphela is another one of the PSL’s nearly coaches and this season could make or break his professional career.

McCarthy on the other end is a coach with potential, and although he is yet to win anything in his first season after taking over from Eric Tinkler, he was unlucky to lose out In the MTN 8 final. He should also be credited for keeping the ambitious Mother City-based club up there with the best in spite of many critics being sceptical about his appointment. 

McCarthy though is still raw in many ways and he too could do with some sort of silverware, which would most definitely see his stock raise and further endear him to the City fans and owners. This makes victory on Saturday all the more important.

The previous clash between the two sides ended 2-0 in favour of Chiefs. But this time around Chiefs’ expansive game plan could be exposed by City. With McCarthy at the helm, City are currently playing a brand of high pressing football, utilising a squad mixed with youthful exuberance and experience. This is a severe contrast to the organised football portrayed by Komphela’s men. The 50-year-old has often resorted to a three man defence, and while the results have been forthcoming, had it not been for goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, things could have been very different.

Nonetheless, McCarthy will need to find a way to counter Chiefs’ tactics and more importantly find a way to build on his side’s lack of goals, which if McCarthy gets that right on the night, the noose could potentially tighten around Komphela.