Komphela, Baxter Heap Praise On ‘Unique’ Amakhosi Legend
Current and former Kaizer Chiefs coaches, Steve Komphela and Stuart Baxter, have heaped praise on Jeff Butler after his sad passing over the weekend.
The Englishman, who won four league titles during his time in South Africa, died on Sunday morning after a spell in hospital, saddening the South African football fraternity to which he gave so much.
Butler won a double treble with the Amakhosi in 1991 and 1992 before taking on a stint with Bafana Bafana and also won two further league titles, one more with the Amakhosi and one with Mamelodi Sundowns. Only Gordon Igesund and Ted Dumitru can match him in that regard.
Komphela, who played for the coach while at Bafana, had high praise for the departed legend, saying that there are lessons that can be learnt from him.
After their game this weekend, before which a minutes silence was held, the Glamour Boys’ head coach said, “We had a wonderful opportunity and a unique one to work with Jeff. I worked with him at the national team‚ and that’s where I also had an opportunity to be captain for South Africa… I played with great players there‚ and Jeff used to motivate us.
“I remember at some stage Jeff even visited Free State Stars‚ which then was Fairway Stars‚ and conducted a few sessions. He was a really unique person in terms of how he handled players and environments. And also his track record at Chiefs speaks volumes.
“Unfortunately we don’t live forever. At some stage of our lives, a chapter has to be closed. And we can only look back and say‚ ‘What is it that we can learn‚ and what is it that we can take forward?’”
Meanwhile, Baxter, who has often been compared to Butler for his work as an Englishman at Naturena, also had kind words for his compatriot, adding that he didn’t just come to South Africa to make his money.
Baxter said, “My condolences also to the family and friends of Jeff. I’m guessing that’s quite a large family‚ and an extended one. I didn’t have the pleasure or the privilege of working with him or seeing him work.
“What I will say is that when anybody comes from abroad‚ to any country‚ if you’re lucky then that person will leave something. There are an endless amount of coaches that drift around‚ coming to South Africa‚ taking some money‚ taking those Rands back to where they came from and not really caring if they’ve left anything or not.
“I think Jeff really did leave something behind him. And as Steve says‚ may we keep learning something from that.”
Gavin Hunt could potentially join Butler on the list of quadruple league winners this season if he clinches the title with Bidvest Wits.