JOHANNESBURG – Chippa Mpengesi has poured cold water on reports that his club has signed Steve Komphela, but he does admit that talks with the current Maritzburg United coach are “positive”.
Local media reported the move of Komphela to the newly-promoted Cape Town side as a done deal on Tuesday, quoting the club’s communications manager Luthando Zibeko.
But Chippa United owner Mpengesi contradicted Zibeko when contacted by ENCA.com and says nothing has been signed.
“That is not confirmed … Steve is still contracted to Maritzburg United until the end of the month,” Mpengesi says. “I can confirm that we are in discussions with him and that these have been positive. We are very hopeful that he will be with us for next season.
“But it is wrong to say he has been signed … lots can happen between now and the end of the month.”
Maritzburg themselves seemed incredulous at the ‘news’ and say they are confident Komphela will remain with them into next season.
“As far as we are aware, and after getting off the phone with Steve 10 minutes ago, he is still Maritzburg United coach. There is nothing else I can say,” United operations manager Quinton Jettoo said.
Komphela was a hit at Maritzburg in the second half of the season after being dumped by former club Free State Stars.
He lifted the club away from the relegation zone to finish 10th, just four points off a top-eight place, and took them to the Nedbank Cup semifinals as well.
The Team of Choice won seven and drew four of their final 15 league games in the second half of the campaign, a stunning reversal in fortunes under the former Bafana Bafana caretaker coach.
Komphela is the latest in a long line of coaches who have been approached about the Chippa post, including current SuperSport United tactician Cavin Johnson, current Zimbabwe national team coach Ian Gorowa and former Orlando Pirates man Viktor Bondarenko.
It follows the axing of Vladislav Heric, who led Chippa to the National First Division title this season to win their place back in the top-flight following their maiden Absa Premiership campaign in 2012/13.
During that season Chippa used an astonishing six coaches before bowing out in the PSL’s Promotion/Relegation playoffs.
Meanwhile, Mpengesi says the club’s relocation to Port Elizabeth is not finalised either, but that they hope to make an announcement about the proposed move “by the end of the week”.
Chippa have been made an offer by the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality to move to the Eastern Cape, which has not had a top-flight side since Bay United in the 2008/09 campaign.
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