Steve Komphela has revealed he was keen on having his protégé Rulani Mokwena join him as an assistant during his time with Kaizer Chiefs.
Komphela, who gave Mokwena his coaching break at Platinum Stars in 2009, is a known admirer of the Chippa United coach. He has told FARPost he missed out on the opportunity of working with the young coach for the second time during his tenure with the Amakhosi.
“I wanted to bring him in when I was at Kaizer Chiefs, he has an amazing football brain. He is so passionate about the game,” said Komphela, who coached Chiefs between 2015 and 2018.
At the time, Mokwena had just been promoted from the Mamelodi Sundowns development team to assist Pitso Mosimane. He left the Chloorkop outfit to join Orlando Pirates in 2017.
“We would miss the opportunity to have a great coach if we underestimate his capabilities as a country. He has never been an assistant that picks up cones (at training), he contributes immensely and lets you shine as head coach. He will be a huge success in his career,” Komphela said.
After his stint with Downs, Mokwena assisted Milutin Sredojević before briefly taking over as head coach after the Serbian’s departure.
Mokwena is now at Chippa United and Komphela has pleaded with the club’s owner to protect him. The Golden Arrows coach says his 33-year-old protégé is “one hell of a human being” whose “network at his age is one to envy”.
Mokwena is known to be a close ally of Matt Newbury, Liverpool’s senior academy scout.
He also speaks fondly of Komphela, a man he describes as “a special human being”. He recalls the time he was asked to stand-in for Komphela, who had been red carded in a game against Pirates during his time at Platinum Stars. He was in his early 20s at the time.
“It was unbelievable because I didn’t know that I was going to sit on the bench against Santos,” he told FARPost recently.
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By Mthokozisi Dube