Ekstein puts Komphela on the spot
Posted: 29 March 2018 Time: 10:15
Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Pule Ekstein did some dribbling off the field as he forced coach Steve Komphela to answer on his recent absence from the team.
Ekstein and Komphela were in attendance at a press conference ahead of Chiefs’ Nedbank Cup quarterfinal clash against Baroka at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
Having started the season off well, starting 13 of the 19 games in the first round of the season, Ekstein seems to have fallen down the pecking order following the arrival of Siphelele Ntshangase.
He has since managed just two starts in 11 games since the turn of the year and, when asked to explain the reason for his limited game-time, the 27-year-old attacker laid off a tricky pass to his coach.
“I think that one is not about me, I think the coach is going to answer that one,” responded Ekstein in a serious tone, handing the microphone to Komphela alongside him.
Komphela in turn responded with shock, before returning the question to the tricky midfielder.
“I used to think this guy can pass the ball, I used to think he can dribble, but he’s just shown me a masterpiece. This pass is one that I cannot control … a hospital pass? huh uh,” he replied.
Ekstein once again refused to accept responsibility for explaining his restricted time on the pitch, adding that he is not a coach but a player.
“Because I’m not a coach, by the way. I’m a player, so that’s why I’m giving it to you [Komphela] to answer the question.”
The former Maritzburg United eventually obliged, praising the Chiefs youth graduate’s work ethic before admitting the competition he faces with Ntshangase.
“Pule has been training very well, and at number-10 filling great spots. Ntshangase came in and we had to fuse him in,” he explained.
“If you remember Ntshangase from Baroka, even from Black Leopards, he had not been playing so he needed to get to the level.
“And I’m sure Pule can attest, you can feel the level of improvement physically, and his quality shows because, whether you like it or not, to achieve any objective you need technical tools.
“For you to achieve that tactical objective and the technical tools, the guys must be fit. So, physically he has grown to that level, the technique he has got, and the technical objective there’s still lots of orientation.
“But they’ve both been doing very well, and you never know, he just has to work hard. We hug jerseys in the changing room, we don’t give out jerseys, they take jerseys themselves. So the challenge is back on you [to take the jersey and play].”