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Gavin Hunt wants more game toughness from Kaizer Chiefs ahead of derby

Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt says there has been more lows than highs for his team so far this season. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt says there has been more lows than highs for his team so far this season. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Jan 28, 2021


JOHANNESBURG - Gavin Hunt’s tenure at Kaizer Chiefs has had more lows than highs but the 56-year-old coach believes that they can be consistent week in and week out, stressing they just need more time.

After an illustrious coaching career that had spanned for over two decades, Hunt’s appointment as Chiefs’ coach was well received by the football fraternity, particularly the Amakhosi faithful who had seen their club struggle in recent years.

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However, the multiple-championship winning coach found the going tough at Chiefs, his troops were booted out of the MTN8 competition and struggled in the early stages of the league – something that many believed was caused by the season-long transfer ban.

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Enter 2021. There’s been glimpses of resurgence at Chiefs, starting with their qualification of the CAF Champions League group stage, while they are enjoying a purple patch in the league, they are on a five-game unbeaten streak, thanks to three wins on the trot and consecutive draws in their last two matches.

To establish that, indeed, they have turned the corner, Chiefs will have to churn out a convincing outing and result when they clash with rivals Orlando Pirates on Saturday at the FNB Stadium in the Soweto Derby.

And with this encounter set to mark the halfway mark of the league (match day 15), Hunt believes that they’ll need game toughness in the remaining outings of the season if they are going to turn their campaign around – after a number of individual mistakes.

“I think there’ve been a few more lows than highs, obviously results-wise. But we’ve made some unbelievable mistakes in the first round, individual mistakes that I haven’t seen in my time. We need to curb those mistakes, but we qualified for the (CAF) group (stage) and we did well,” Hunt said.

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“But the league has been poor. We certainly needed to be above 25 points, which we haven’t got yet. No doubt, the signs are better in my eyes. We need more game toughness, and we don’t have that. We’ll try to do the best we can, it takes a little bit of time.”

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Gone are those days where the Soweto Derby was dubbed a “drawby”. In the last three derbies, there’ve been victors. Chiefs won the last league encounter in February 2020, while Pirates mopped the floor with their rivals in both legs of the MTN8 semi-finals late last year.

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Chiefs will be the more confident of the two Soweto giants heading into the showdown after bagging 11 points out of a possible 15 in their last five matches, while the eventual Wafa Wafa competition winners have merely amassed eight after two wins, two draws and one loss.

“I think we’ve done very well to make 11 out of 15. I mean you make 10 after five matches, and you win the league. It will give you 60 points, plus or minus. But from where we were, we obviously wanted more,” Hunt, who last won the league with Bidvest Wits in 2017, said.

The Glamour Boys will almost have a full strength team for Saturday, except for captain Ramahlwe Mphahlele, who Hunt believes was settling in nicely at centre-back before sustaining a hamstring injury against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila a week ago.

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Kaizer Chiefs