Gavin Hunt pleased with Leonardo Castro but not Kaizer Chiefs’ defence
JOHANNESBURG - Kaizer Chiefs have a mountain to climb in their quest to return to glory this season and coach Gavin Hunt was unhappy that his defence allowed them to casually drop points away to Golden Arrows at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Saturday.
In a campaign in which they were expected to return to the pinnacle of top-flight football, Chiefs have been found wanting. They were booted out of the MTN8 competition by rivals Orlando Pirates after an embarrassing 5-0 defeat on aggregate.
Their league campaign has also been underwhelming, having only bagged five points out of 12 thanks to one win, two draws and one loss, despite having been tipped to have a change of fortunes under multiple title-winning coach Hunt.
There have been a number of factors that have led to Chiefs’ poor start, including the inability to sign players due to a transfer ban.
But that they shared the spoils with Arrows in a 2-2 draw left Hunt disheartened.
“Very disappointed with the 2-2 draw,” Hunt said. “We had the game under control but we missed so many opportunities. But you can see why we haven’t scored in seven games. The chances we missed in the first half really (cost us).
“It could have been three or four there. In the second half we played some good football. Our defending has also been a problem. But from where we’ve been and where we are, I am disappointed. But it’s a good sign that we are disappointed.”
Striker Leonardo Castro was the main culprit for Chiefs’ missed chances in the first stanza. But he made up for that in the second, scoring a brace that gave Chiefs the lead after an early deficit, but substitute Nduduzo Sibaya snatched a point for Arrows.
“Castro scored two, I thought he worked hard. I think he could have had five today. He missed two, three chances in the first half; I mean really good chances and much easier than the ones that he (took).
“I am happy for him. He works hard but he’s at the age now where he can’t play; he’s not going to go the whole 90 minutes.
“But we’ll try to do the best that we can with what we’ve got (in the absence of striker Samir Nurkovic due to an injury).”
With Chiefs’ striking department a bit thin, Hunt has been forced to pick youngsters in the matchday squad. Against Arrows he gave a debut to youth product Darrel Macheke. And the coach is confident that his young guns will deliver.
“We are not playing friendlies but proper games. We need people with legs, determined and want to do it. But obviously that is the problem – we need legs. These young ones have got a bit of legs and we need to play them now and again,” Hunt said.
“But tactically they also need to be good. But we haven’t had much time on the training ground.”
Hunt said he disagreed with Arrows’ 49th minute penalty scored by Siboniso Conco.
“... It was a poor decision. But maybe they (Chiefs) got many penalties last year and (they are) given against us now.”