Steve Komphela says the tough times he is currently enduring as Kaizer Chiefs coach is something he is used to, as he looks to sacrifice himself for the good of the players.
Komphela has faced a barrage of condemnation over The Glamour Boys’ recent run of results, having last brought joy to their supporters when they beat Ajax Cape Town 2-0 – almost two months ago – on October 15.
Since then, Chiefs have managed four draws and two defeats in the league, while overcoming Maritzburg United in the Telkom Knockout Last 16 by penalties before being eliminated by Free Stats Stars from the quarterfinals by the same method.
However, the embattled tactician believes the backlash he is currently facing is similar to that of activists such as the late Nelson Mandela, and thus feels that quitting would be an act of selfishness.
“Sometimes when you go through pressure and hell, it is about who you represent,” said Komphela of his current circumstances.
“Sometimes you have to take fire, not because you deserve to be burnt but because you take fire of behalf of [others]. When you suffer on behalf of [others], you suffer with pleasure.
“When [Nelson] Mandela went 30 years in prison, if he had known he was doing it for [himself] he would have come out after the first day, or even maybe – God forbid – committed suicide.
“But because he knew he was fighting for a cause, representing millions, that inspired him. Look at all activists, they go through hell and endure the pain because they know they are not doing it for themselves.
“So the pain that I’m going through, Im going through it on behalf of supporters [and] everybody here [at Chiefs], but it’s not nice and you’ve got to be very strong. That’s the nature of our business.”
Asked whether he is going through the most difficult phase of his coaching career, the Kroonstad-born former Maritzburg United and Free State Stars mentor played down the severity of his present struggles.
“I’ve been through a lot. Some people wouldn’t know. But you cannot celebrate difficulty and start wanting to be a hero out of that,” he added.
“As a black man, I grew up from nothing. To me pain is just pleasure, because I had never been introduced to any pleasure.”