Komphela braces himself for Molangoane's absence from Chiefs lineup
Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela has praised the role of his wingbacks this season but will have to come up with another plan for the weekend’s home clash with Ajax Cape Town in Durban.
Right-back Joseph Molangoane and left-back Philani Zulu have been stand-out players in recent weeks as Komphela reverted to three centre-backs in the wake of his injury problems in defence.
But Molangoane will be missing for Saturday’s clash against Ajax through suspension‚ potentially leaving Komphela to revert to a flat back four with Kgotso Moleko and Ramahlwe Mphahlele not likely to be ready until the New Year.
“We will have to have a think about what we are going to do‚ but we will have a plan‚” Komphela said of Molangoane’s absence.
Komphela does have options‚ with centrebacks Daniel Cardoso‚ Teenage Hadebe‚ Erick Mathoho‚ Lorenzo Gordinho and youngster Siyabonga Ngezana‚ who could play on the right.
“Moleko has started to come back‚ Rama [Mphahlele] as well is gaining fitness‚ we are just at the final stages of their protocols.
"January we should have them‚” Komphela confirmed.
“Then it will be the headache of what do you do with Philani‚ what do you do with Rama‚ what do you do with Moleko‚ Malangoane‚ it’s a nice one. “
Komphela has praised the performances of Zulu and Molangoane‚ but says the energy they exert in matches means he will need back-up later on in the season.
“The challenge with wingbacks‚ and you can go to Tottenham under [coach Mauricio] Pochettino‚ he will always have a [Kieran] Trippier and a Danny Rose‚ he will have a Kyle Walker and somebody else.
“You always need to have two wingbacks [per position] because of the distance they cover.
"Molangoane is covering that distance there and back about a 100 times‚ Philani the same‚ and you realise that energy is not there but goodness me these guys keep on going.”
One side-effect of playing with wingbacks has meant that veteran Siphiwe Tshabalala has been forced into a more central role‚ one that he is excelling in.
“As we are setting up with Joseph and Philani as wingbacks‚ and sitting with three centre-backs‚ Shabba [Tshabalala] in that set-up can only play as a second striker.
“Because in a 3-4-3‚ if you are planting him wide‚ then you have to compromise a fullback.
"The challenge is when the fullbacks of the opponents start coming at you.
"So there is a way how we use him and it is amazing how he covers space.
"He is so experienced.”