Despite recovering from an ankle injury in midweek, Hadebe was left out of the Soweto Derby match-day squad, much to the surprise of the club’s supporters.
Komphela instead stuck with the central trio that had kept a clean sheet in their previous clash against Bloemfontein Celtic, while Erick Mathoho also retained his place on the bench.
Given their conceding of three goals against Pirates on Saturday, the phlegmatic tactician has explained why the Zimbabwean sweeper might not have made much of a difference in the line-up.
“Not really, I wouldn’t say [Hadebe’s absence was felt]. If you look at how the first goal came about, and you want to factor Hadebe in there, you would say, ‘But it’s one of those mistakes possible in any match’,” argued Komphela.
“The second goal at the beginning of the second half – I don’t remember if we touched the ball or not – how would you factor Hadebe in there? In eight seconds they hit the back of the net.
“So, when you look at it, you can’t really say the Hadebe factor could have been, but would it have made a difference? You never know. It can only be said with benefit of hindsight.”
Komphela further detailed the performances of Siyabonga Ngezana, Daniel Cardoso and Ramahlwe Mphahlele, before adding the contributions of Joseph Molangoane and Willard Katsande, who shifted into defence upon the introduction of Bernard Parker late on.
“If we look at the defenders we had, Siya – in one-on-ones – he was okay, even though there were some basic errors he committed,” Komphela explained.
“Cardoso, I thought, read the game quite well in most instances, except just towards the end of the match when he came towards the benches to press the ball.
“He got stuck and never recovered, and that then allowed Pirates to go on a transition.
“‘Rama’, as well – both defensively and offensively, I thought gave his best. The nature of Rama is such that he becomes emotional and wants to take everything upon his shoulders to win the match for the team.
“When you do that offensively, it obviously does affect you defensively in terms of energy. ‘Tight’ [Molangoane] also assisted a lot; as did Katsande – playing him more as a centre-back assisted.
“That we then missed Hadebe? I wouldn’t really say. That we committed errors at the back? Yes, those were basic errors where we could have done better.”