Pitso Mosimane praises Gavin Hunt for taking Chiefs so far in Caf Champions League
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CAPE TOWN – Pitso Mosimane and Gavin Hunt sit at the head of the royal table of South African football coaches.
Both are among the most successful tactician the country has produced and endured many a titanic battle during their time as head of Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits respectively.
They have since graduated to greener pastures with Mosimane moving abroad to take charge of Egyptians champions Al Ahly while Hunt is now at the helm of Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs.
Both assignments have unique pressures with the media scrutiny even more intense and the fans expectations almost unrealistic with Mosimane and Hunt enduring plenty of criticism.
But yet they both find themselves among the continent's elite with Al Ahly and Chiefs – the first time in their history – having advanced to the CAF Champions League semi-finals over the weekend. Al Ahly defeated Mosimane's former team Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 on aggregate, while Chiefs hung on 4-3 despite conceding three goals to Simba FC in Tanzania.
Mosimane said Hunt deserves all the plaudits for driving Chiefs' African adventure despite not being able to sign any players due to the transfer ban imposed on Amakhosi that has impacted their domestic performance.
“I have big respect [for Hunt]. Did you see the goals that Chiefs scored? Tell me what 80 percent of those goals were, with the head," Mosimane said.
“Simba can play very well, they dribbled us in Tanzania. I’m not going to point a finger at Gavin Hunt because I respect him. You know why?
"Because Gavin Hunt has won four [PSL] titles and lots of trophies. So why should I disrespect Gavin?
“He has got experience. He might not be doing very well in the league but he knows how to win games. We have been there, it is not about talking too much. We have experience in these things. We know how to win a match.”
Meanwhile, Chiefs captain Bernard Parker praised his team for the fighting spirit they showed in the cauldron of Dar-es-Salaam.
“It was a tough one, a very tough game, we knew it was going to be this tough. They kept pumping balls forward and kept our defence busy and on the backfoot, forcing errors and they managed to get goals.
“The crowd was rallying them on, we knew they were going to be more motivated and come out guns blazing. We kept our cool, we kept resisting, we kept fighting. When the third goal came in it was a bit of a worrying fact, well done to Willard Katsande for blocking a shot on the line. The subs who came in also did really well."
Chiefs will face Morrocan champions Wydad Casablanca in the semi-finals with the two teams having already met in the group stage earlier this season.
Wydad thumped the Amakhosi 4-0 in a Group C encounter at home in February 2021, but Chiefs gained revenge in the reverse fixture as they emerged 1-0 winners in Johannesburg last month.
“We can take a lot of positives out of this match going into the next round, knowing that whenever we play away we have to defend with our lives. When we play home we have to win and get goals," Parker added.