Expect pleasantries to be on hold for 90 minute when a familiar foe in Steve Komphela invades Tshwane with his Moroka Swallows team to confront Mamelodi Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
The scene is set for the MTN8 quarterfinal between mentor and student in the form of Komphela and Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena.
The latter cut his teeth at now defunct Platinum Stars as an assistant coach to Komphela. The two also worked together at The Brazilians where roles were reversed and Komphela was second in command to the 36-year-old.
Komphela jumped ship before the new season started to take charge of the Dube Birds.
“I don’t know if it’s information or knowledge, because information is all the data, but knowledge is how you apply that information,” said Komphela philosophically about facing his former team.
“So I do have the information and understanding of how we used to play. I’ve had a look at how they play currently and there’s a slight tweak.
“But it’s not far from the principles that were planted from the previous season. And again they are playing with people who are used to the system.”
Meanwhile, Mokwena is focusing on the task at hand as comes up against the more experienced 56-year-old.
“He knows us very well but football is played on the pitch,” Mokwena said
“I always say that the game belongs to the players. In the 90 minutes we have to do the best we can do to impose ourselves.
“It will be an interesting encounter but at the end of the day, it’s Mamelodi Sundowns versus Moroka Swallows and we have to play the match and not the occasion and do the best that we can to get to the semi-finals.
“We have played against him even when I was at Pirates and we played against Golden Arrows. We’ve played him before even here at Mamelodi Sundowns
Mokwena made his PSL coaching debut in 2009 while at Stars, standing in for Komphela who was serving a suspension.
“I get overwhelmed but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I think I’ve earned every single opportunity that I have received,” he concluded.
“When I look back, I’m just grateful for the opportunities and to do justice to continue working hard and continue working on my craft and help the players and try to have an influence on their careers.”