THE BREAKDOWN: The Numbers Behind Komphela’s Spell At Chiefs
What does Steve Komphela need to do to improve Kaizer Chiefs' results?
Steve Komphela is now entering his third season with Kaizer Chiefs, despite failing to win any silverware in his first two seasons. However, beyond the emphasis put on winning trophies, what do the numbers say and can we say he has managed to achieve some degree of success on the pitch?
Komphela took on the head coach role at Amakhosi in July 2015, inheriting a league winning team from former coach, Stuart Baxter. In 60 league matches with the club, he has secured 96 points from 24 wins, 24 draws and 12 losses. His team has scored 77 goals and conceded 58 in that timeframe. Outside of the league, he lost the 2015/16 MTN8 final to Ajax Cape Town before being eliminated in the quarter finals by Cape Town City in the 2016/17 edition of the tournament. He was also eliminated at the round of 32 of the Nedbank Cup in 205/16 before losing a penalty shootout to SuperSport United in the quarter finals of the 2016/17 tournament. So where has the Kroonstad-born mentor got it right in the dugout and where does he need to improve?
Chiefs scored 39 goals in 2016/17, more than the league average of 33.6 goals. However, Amakhosi took just 11.7 shots per game, which is significantly lower than the league average of 12.5. A shot accuracy of 30.6% is also below the league average of 32.8%, but their conversion rate of 10.9% is significantly higher than the league average of 8.8%. Their ability to turn shots into goals is likely a result of taking 6.3% of their shots in the danger zone.
Even though Chiefs have been criticised for their work up front in recent seasons, there are certainly positive signs and Komphela will do well to encourage his players to shoot more frequently and will look to achieve better accuracy in training sessions.
Unlike the counter-attacking style of play that worked so well for Stuart Baxter at the club, Komphela’s team achieved a healthy average of 52.9% average possession this season, bettered only by Chippa United and Mamelodi Sundowns. They were also third in the league in terms of passes per match (467.1), with an accuracy of 80.7%. However, where they failed in this regard was that they played for possession without purpose and made just 17.7% of their passes in the final third at an accuracy of 73.4%, which was marginally higher than the league average of 72.5%.
With this in mind, Komphela has a lot to be happy about when it comes to the performance of his midfield, but will look to see his playmakers be more penetrative when going forward.
Chiefs were not only second in the league in terms of defensive actions (tackles and interceptions) per match, with 17.9, but they also recorded the third least opponent passes per defensive action, with just 21.8 passes being made prior to the team’s intervention. In contrast, Orlando Pirates allowed their opponents to make 35.7 passes for each defensive intervention on average last season. However, Chiefs will be concerned by their efficiency when it comes to winning the ball in their air, with just 10.7 aerial duels won per match, which was the fourth worst figure in the league, with the team winning only 47.8% of all of their aerial duels.
Therefore, in effect, Steve Komphela can be proud of his team’s defensive performances last season, as the team proved to be amongst the best in the league in terms of defensive actions. However, he may look to bring height to his defence, which he has done by acquiring the 180cm tall centre back, Teenage Hadebe, in order to improve on the team’s performances when it comes to winning the ball back in the air.
Once again, Itumeleng Khune has proved himself to be one of the best, if not the best, goalkeepers in the country, with the Bafana Bafana number one saving more than 80% of the shots fired at him throughout the season, keeping 10 clean sheets in 24 league appearances. Yet, Komphela has yet to find a reliable deputy for the injury-prone shot stopper after Reyaad Pieterse joined SuperSport United in 2016.
It is clear, therefore, that Steve Komphela has managed to get some decent performances out of his charges, but that there are a few areas that need some work before they can return to the position of dominance that they held prior to the former Maritzburg United coach’s arrival.
Do you think Steve Komphela can turn Chiefs into champions in the 2017/18 season?