Cape Town - Chippa United coach Gavin Hunt returns to his old stomping ground at FNB Stadium today in the hope of eking out a win against hosts Kaizer Chiefs in their DStv Premiership clash (start 5.30pm).
Five months ago, Chiefs and Hunt parted ways after a poor Premiership campaign. A few weeks later, Chippa appointed Hunt. Six matches into the season, Chippa are also faring poorly with a win and two draws after six matches.
Hunt’s opposite number at Chiefs, Stuart Baxter, is having an equally poor run this season. Six matches into the season, Chiefs have a win and three draws. Both teams find themselves in perilous positions and languish at the foot end of the table in 12th (Chiefs) and 13th.
The dreadful run of insipid performances has placed both coaches under pressure, or at least that is the way the fans and media have responded. Ahead of today’s match, both coaches were at pains to clear the air and say they are not under pressure.
However, Baxter was prompted (by the media) to say he had sympathy for Hunt and other coaches in the paid ranks.
“Gavin Hunt, Stuart Baxter, Ernst Middendorp, Pitso Mosimane ‒ every coach we know, every day they are under pressure,” said Baxter. “I have sympathy with every coach. Every coach who is relieved of his duties has more to offer.
“Not everyone is working at Manchester City in a virtual perfect world. In every job, there are restrictions like unlucky happenings with injuries. Now we have the pandemic and the locking of supporters out of stadiums. A coach can be relieved of his duties and may not have done anything wrong.”
Hunt has used the Fifa break to do strengthening and conditioning drills with the squad. He rued the fact that there were no local teams who could offer opposition for practice matches.
“We had players away and injured, and then we lost few who were called up for international duty,” said Hunt.
“During the Fifa break, we worked on a few other things and parts of our game like conditioning and strengthening ‒ that kind of thing.
“We have a squad of players that are competitive, we just need a run of a few games. Before the previous Fifa break, we did well, and then we lost our rhythm a bit. Hopefully, we can get it back.
“There have been a few players out the last week or two and who have not trained for various reasons. The problem is that where we are in Gqeberha, you can’t really get friendly games to test them a bit. There are no other teams around here.
“We can only put them through their paces and see. I know what is required, we need athleticism and a lot of togetherness.”
Despite Chippa’s poor from, Hunt was recently given a vote of confidence by the club’s chairman Chippa Mpengesi, better known for his notorious hiring and firing of coaches at the drop of the hat.