Why Steve Komphela told Thamsanqa Gabuza to go and google some R&B

Bloemfontein Celtic coach Steve Komphela chats to his former players Willard Katsande and Ramahlwe Mphahlele during the Absa Premiership match against Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on August 29 2018.
Bloemfontein Celtic coach Steve Komphela chats to his former players Willard Katsande and Ramahlwe Mphahlele during the Absa Premiership match against Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on August 29 2018.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Bloemfontein Celtic coach Steve Komphela says he had an “18-minute‚ 35-second” phone call with Thamsanqa Gabuza advising the Orlando Pirates striker on how to recover from his moment of madness in an Absa Premiership match this week.

Much-maligned Gabuza threw his shirt at his own supporters – who had been on his back – and stormed into the change rooms having set up Pirates’ opener in their 2-1 win against Black Leopards in Polokwane on Tuesday night. On his return he was red-carded.

Komphela‚ who had similar experiences with abuse from supporters coaching Kaizer Chiefs for the past three seasons‚ said he called Gabuza the following day to offer him advice.

“I hope my bosses are not going to kill me - I spent 18 minutes‚ 35 seconds talking to Gabuza. Pirates were on their way back from Polokwane‚” Komphela said.

“What I said to Gabuza was that taking from my own lessons‚ of which it’s nobody’s fault – it’s luck – media has a huge role.

“Because it can direct the angle and how society sees things. But if we don’t assume that responsibility‚ we’ll face such.

“I’m not hanging anybody‚ I’m not holding anybody accountable. I’m just questioning whether we are taking enough responsibility to give direction as leaders.

“Now the biggest challenge with you [the media] is you are facing social media.

“You know there’s nothing as nice as reading an opinion in a paper and this guy gives a different perspective.

“But there can never be an opinion that is deep‚ that is thorough‚ that is well thought-out‚ on social media.

“Sometimes it is people who unfortunately are faceless.

“Some of them are out there just to break you because they support another club. It’s not that they are genuine with their utterances.

“Which is what I said to Gabuza. I said‚ ‘Hey Baba‚ you must put a positive filter’.

“When we grew up my mom used a sieve for the Snowflake. I used that example – I said‚ ‘Where we come from that flower would have worms‚ my man. We come from poverty like you would never understand’.

“I said‚ ‘Have the same lens in your eyes and ears. See positive. And if you’ll feel positive you’ll act positive’.

“‘But if you go on and try and listen to everything that is negative that is said about you‚ it’s going to kill you my man’.

Gabuza’s tiff with his own supporters had apparently begun on social media‚ where he had been blocking detractors on Twitter in the buildup to the Leopards game.

Komphela said SA footballers do not get the right professional advice on how to deal with criticism and the new phenomenon of social media backlash.

“These guys have no councillors. They never get introduced to playing professional football.

“There’s a kid there‚ 19 – who told him there would be these challenges? After this draw [for Chiefs against Celtic this week]‚ what do you say to [Chiefs’ young left-back Siphosakhe] Ntiya-Ntiya?

“So the coach must consistently have these smallanyana classes.

“I said to Gabuza‚ ‘The only way to come out of this‚ I might say be strong‚ but I need to equip you how to be strong. I must give you tools’.

“I said‚ ‘What’s your favourite music?’ He said‚ ‘R&B. I said‚ ‘Go to Apple playlists. Go and Google R&B’.

“‘Go and do what you like most. But there has to be a consistent repetition of all these beautiful‚ small things that entice you and give you life – so that these consistent positives will enlighten you and give you life’.

“I said to him go and get the Adidas T-Shirt you want. If there’s a pair of sneakers you want and your budget is tight‚ forget the budget‚ go and buy them’.

“‘Because the world is up against you. Nobody’s going to look after you‚‚ you’ve got to look after yourself’.

“‘And nobody’s going to give you a big gift of positivity. But a series of events that are positive ... even a meal; go a restaurant’.

“And they’ll be asking‚ ‘But how does this guy not get angry?’

“‘Because I’m wearing a different lens‚ my man’ – positive.”

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