Master, student face off in league

Steve Kompela.
Steve Kompela.

It will be a proverbial case of student versus the master in the touchline battle between Rulani Mokwena and Steve Komphela tonight.

Mokwena will be looking for his maiden victory in charge of Orlando Pirates when they face Golden Arrows at the Orlando Stadium (7.30pm).

The two coaches have a relationship that dates about 10 years back when they worked together at the now defunct Silver Stars. Komphela promoted Mokwena from coaching in the club's academy to be his second in command.

Mokwena's first experience on the bench in a professional PSL game came when Komphela was suspended in a match between Stars and Santos. In past interviews, Mokwena has only had positive things to say about Komphela.

"The people you meet can set you up for success or failure. Possibly, one of the most important role players in my career as a coach was Steve," he said then.

Although they have faced each other before, the previous battles were when Mokwena was assistant coach at Bucs and Mamelodi Sundowns.

Interim Orlando Pirates coach Rulani Mokwena.
Interim Orlando Pirates coach Rulani Mokwena.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

Now he is the man in charge (though on an interim basis) of the Buccaneers in a turbulent period after the departure of Milutin "Micho" Sredojevic.

Pirates are winless in the three games Mokwena has been in charge. He began his reign with a loss to Highlands Park (1-0) in the MTN8, then had a goalless draw against AmaZulu and drew 1-1 to exit CAF Champions League on a 2-1 aggregate after a loss to Green Eagles of Zambia.

Mokwena himself admitted that he has not had the best start after the Eagles' second leg encounter on Saturday.

Arrows, on the other hand, will be bursting with confidence after their 2-1 league win over Chippa United on Saturday. In that game, Komphela got the response he hoped for after they were hammered 5-0 by Celtic in their previous match.