Playing behind closed doors is going to test Chiefs‚ Sundowns and Pirates‚ says Komphela

Golden Arrows head coach Steve Komphela.
Golden Arrows head coach Steve Komphela.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Football is faced with the new normal of playing matches behind closed doors and Lamontville Golden Arrows coach Steve Komphela believes that this unfamiliar phenomenon will be more beneficial to the so-called smaller teams.

The Bundesliga in Germany was the first major European league to resume matches without spectators and La Liga in Spain‚ Serie A in Italy and the Premier League in England are set to follow.

The Premier Soccer League (PSL)‚ the SA Football Association (Safa) and government are currently discussing the safety protocols that are likely to be followed to ensure the safe return of the domestic game without fans and Komphela said players from the so-called bigger teams are going to be tested.

“It’s going to be a big challenge to the teams who carry bigger reputations and are used to playing in front of full capacity or large crowds.

"They might find this very strange‚ it’s going to benefit the other teams in the league‚” said Komphela.

“Playing football behind closed doors is another dynamic because there are advantages and disadvantages and I want to look at it from both sides. It will be very unfair of me to look at it from one side.

"You go to play at Loftus and you come across 40,000 yellow and green supporters and when you are Golden Arrows you have few supporters in the corner even though you have similar colours.

“You will be under pressure because Sundowns is going to enjoy the support because energy is everything in life. Supporters ignite their clubs and on match day they become the 12th player.

"Teams that play without supporters and are used to playing without supporters are not going to be affected that much.

"However‚ for Mamelodi Sundowns‚ Orlando Pirates or Kaizer Chiefs‚ it is going to be a strange phenomenon to them because they will be playing in front of empty stadiums.”

Komphela said the new normal is going to test players of the so-called big teams emotionally and psychologically.

“It is going to have a huge impact both emotionally and psychologically to the players and that can affect the technical output.

"Mind you‚ us who are just below those big three or four teams in the league‚ we are going out there saying that we won’t be beaten by Sundowns‚ Chiefs or Pirates and the motivation is going to be even extra.”