Gavin Hunt: Everything in place for Kaizer Chiefs’ trophy chase
JOHANNESBURG - Kaizer Chiefs’ new coach Gavin Hunt has kept his usual calm and optimistic demeanour, insisting the dark cloud that’s hanging over the club won’t deter them from pursuing their targets this season.
Chiefs are not allowed to sign any players during the ongoing transfer window. This is after they were slapped with a one-year transfer ban by Fifa, following irregularities during the signing of Aro Hasina Andrianarimanana in 2018.
The outcome of Chiefs’ appeal to have their ban lifted is still up in the air, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) yet to make their ruling. That waiting game, however, has forced Amakhosi to sit back and watch their rivals beef up their squads for the new season.
But in Hunt, who replaced Ernst Middendorp, Chiefs have an astute and experienced coach who is aiming to return the club back to the pinnacle of South African football with the squad that he has at his disposal.
“I have been well received at the club. Everything is in place to be successful. We know the situation, of the signing of players and everything,” Hunt, a four-time league winner, said.
“But we’ve got a squad that did very well last year, but was very unfortunate. So, we’ll try to work on that. And hopefully the ruling will be made sooner rather than later.
“There’s not much I can really say about the whole thing, but the players have been committed at training.
“But the proof will be there on Sunday. I haven’t been here for long. But there’s no time for excuses. The good thing is I know the league and players.”
Amakhosi fell from grace in the last five seasons, after failing to win a trophy. But that agony was made unbearable last season after they lost out on the Premiership title on the final day of the season, despite leading for the better part of the campaign.
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In ensuring that Hunt’s time at Chiefs reaps rewards, the 56-year-old will be assisted by Dillion Sheppard, who had a successful run with the development ranks at now defunct Wits, and Arthur Zwane, who knows the ins and outs at Amakhosi.
“There were a lot of backward and forward turns of the staff before I came. Arthur has been here and I know him very well. He’s been (a) great help so far and I am sure that we can get better with time,” Hunt said.
“I started Sheppy’s career when he was 17 and he’s been with me at 38 as a coach. I think he’ll do very well as a coach in the future. He’s enthusiastic. He works well with the youth and that has been the whole idea to get the Diski players on par with the first team.”
Hunt’s first assessment as Chiefs’ commander in chief will begin on Sunday. Chiefs will clash with Maritzburg United in the MTN8 quarter-finals at FNB Stadium hoping to begin their route to taking a shot at redemption with aplomb.
Hunt, though, knows that Maritzburg, who finished seventh last season, won’t be pushovers, having beaten Chiefs twice in three matches last season, saying: “I don’t think they’ll be any different compared to last season. They’ll be competitive.
“I know what to expect and hopefully we can get the players to a situation they can understand - which I know they do.”