Eric Tinkler wary of 'new' Kaizer Chiefs
DURBAN - Speaking ahead of his side’s MTN8 clash against Kaizer Chiefs this Sunday, Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler reiterated that his men will be up against a different and rejuvenated Chiefs side.
After dramatically missing out on league success last season, the Glamour Boys parted ways with coach Ernst Middendorp and have since installed four-time PSL winner Gavin Hunt as their new coach.
With Pitso Mosimane having left Sundowns to link up with Egyptian giants Al-Ahly, new Chiefs boss Hunt is considered by many to be the most innovative active tactician in the South African elite league.
“Gavin Hunt has shown that he is an astute coach.
"He has won leagues, he has won Cups, and players will be highly motivated to show their worth to Gavin,” said Tinkler who led Maritzburg to a seventh place finish last season.
“Gavin is a winner. He plays a particular brand of football that is difficult to compete against. I think last season Kaizer Chiefs were good on set-pieces,” he added.
The style of play which was used by Chiefs during Middendorp’s reign as manager of the team came under intense scrutiny by fans and pundits alike. In addition to losing the PSL title to Sundowns on the last day of last season, they also lost the 2018/19 Nedbank Cup final against TS Galaxy who were playing in the National First Division at the time.
Chiefs appeared to lack big match temperament during Middendorp’s reign as coach. Maritzburg were the happier of the two sides when the teams clashed last season. They were undefeated in the league against Chiefs last season. The two played out to a 1-1 draw last December while Maritzburg claimed an impressive 2-1 away victory when the sides met in February through a brace from former Bafana Bafana attacker Daylon Claasen.
Chiefs ultimately dropped five potential points against Maritzburg last season. This was one of the key factors behind why Middendorp could not secure them a first league title in five-years.
Maritzburg also knocked out Chiefs from the Telkom Knockout Cup in November 2019 as a Judas Mosemaedi brace secured them a 2-1 win.
Tinkler emphasised that his side cannot rest on their laurels due to their dominance over Chiefs last season.
“I don’t think we can compare last season to the coming season. We need to play and prepare ourselves extremely hard because it’s going to be a tough battle. There are always (battles) when you play against a team coached by Gavin Hunt.”