As the dreams of Mamelodi Sundowns were crushed into a million pieces, courtesy of SuperSport United on Saturday, an elated Gavin Hunt realised one he had been hankering for.
The source of Hunt’s merriment was that SuperSport’s triumph over Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup final ensured that Matsatsantsa a Pitori will compete in Africa next year.
Ironically, Sundowns owner Patrice Motsepe has been harbouring dreams of conquering Africa for a while now.
Despite pumping millions into Downs and paying astronomic salaries to players, Motsepe’s team is dismally failing to make the grade in the top flight as far as silverware is concerned.
That Sundowns walked away from Orlando Stadium on Saturday with their tails between their legs meant it was another season without a trophy for the Brazilians.
While Downs were left to lick their wounds, SuperSport’s bank account swelled by R6 million and with that an opportunity to play continental football. A jovial Hunt was chuffed by the prospect of playing in the next edition of the Caf Confederation Cup.
“It’s vital for me as a coach. That’s where I want to be. The Champions League is magnificent. That’s where you want to play football, that’s where you want to judge yourself.
“We are lucky that we will be playing in the Caf Confederation Cup. You have got to play in Africa. That’s where the ultimate thrill is, I think,” said Hunt.
For Hunt, the Nedbank Cup was his fourth trophy at SuperSport, where he had already won the Premier League title three times.
Goals from Man of the Match Thabo September and Kermit Erasmus secured victory for Hunt’s side. Veteran striker Sibusiso Zuma played a pivotal role for SuperSport and Hunt heaped praise on the 36-year-old for his magnificent contribution.
“Zuma only played half a year. It’s very unfortunate what happened to him when he got injured badly and I thought he was finished. But you know Zulus, they always come back, just as Zuma came back very well,” said the coach jokingly.
With Morgan Gould leaving for Kaizer Chiefs and Tebogo Langerman on his way to Sundowns, SuperSport will be have to rebuild.
Hunt will be on the look out for players to bolster his side and will also be looking at sorting out his future at SuperSport.
The multi-championship winning coach revealed that he would be discussing his future with the club today.
Hopefully I will still be here next season. There’s a lot to be discussed (at meeting with management today),” said Hunt concerning his future.
“Obviously we have candidates that have been identified. As you know it’s an open market.
“It’s very difficult to get players in an open market. There’s one or two that we will try to bring in. We are going to look into our academy as well. I think we need three or four players.”
Despite failure to win silverware, former Ajax Amsterdam and Barcelona star Johan Neeskens, will still be at Chloorkop next season.
“I am not afraid for my future because there are only two people who can decide my future – me and the (club) president and nobody else,” said Neeskens.
The dejected coach was disappointed that his men failed to deliver the goods on Saturday and allowing their rivals to hoist high the Nedbank Cup trophy. The former Barcelona midfielder lamented the 20th minute straight sending off of Clayton Daniels, which changed the complexion of the game and had a huge impact on Downs failing to get another trophy.
“It was an interesting final until the 20th minute and the red card. There are things that happen in football that you have to accept. I was very disappointed. I have to see it again, but it is the decision of the referee and he’s the boss on the field – we have to accept that.
“At least we tried to give our best. It was difficult for us and too easy for SuperSport,” said the former Netherlands youth coach.
Neeskens said he couldn’t fault his players on their commitment on the pitch.
Not only was it heartbreaking for the fans of the Brazilians, it was also a bitter pill to swallow for captain Teko Modise and some of his teammates, who ended up empty-handed ... once again. – Pretoria News