’I don't have an ego’, says Gavin Hunt upon arriving at Chippa United
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CAPE TOWN - The phrase "long term" and Chippa United coaches have not been synonymous over the years.
Just last season the Eastern Cape-based team went through a string of mentors, namely Lehlohonolo Seema‚ Dan Malesela‚ Zwide's Siyabulela Gwambi and Serbian Vladislav Heric.
Everything begins and ends with club boss and self-made millionaire Siviwe Mpengesi that runs Chippa United like his personal spaza shop. He hires and fires at will.
But South African football's own Mike Ashley has arguably pulled the biggest cat out of the bag yet with the arrival of Gavin Hunt in Gqeberha.
With all due respect to aforementioned gentlemen and others like Roger Sikhakhane, Kosta Papic, Farouk Abrahams and Englishman Mark Harrison that have all experienced the poisoned chalice of Chippa United, they cannot tie Hunt's laces in terms of winning major silverware in South African football.
Hunt is a legend in local coaching circles regardless of the last eight disappointing eight months spent at Kaizer Chiefs - where he still set the Amakhosi on their path to hopefully CAF Champions League continental glory.
Equally, the 56-year-old is one of the most outspoken coaches around which undoubtedly played a major part in his ultimate demise at Naturena.
Hunt and Mpengesi joining forces is therefore the equivalent of two elephants colliding. Hopefully the grass at Gqeberha's impressive 2010 World Cup venue doesn't suffer.
"Obviously the chairman Mr Chippa Mpengesi has been talking to me. We all know the history of Chippa, it's been a very chequered history, with coaches coming and going. I saw it as a long-term project and we had a long discussion about things. The first thing and most important is to get the team to be competitive and more stable," Hunt said upon his unveiling on Wednesday.
"People will say you are going to Chippa, but I don't see it like that. I don't have an ego...
I am really looking forward to the project. It is going to take a lot of work. It is going to take a lot of discussions at all sorts of levels. I am not going to promise you we're going to win. But we can certainly be more competitive and we will have a team that people of this area can be proud of."
Hunt and Mpengesi are certainly singing the same tune during this honeymoon period of a marriage arguably made in hell in terms of that they are both passionate about discovering the talent available in the Gqeberha region.
"We need to tap into the local market and I know there is talent here because the players that have played for me over the years have come from this area. Big players like Daine Klate, (Kermit) Erasmus, Ronwen Williams,” Hunt said.
"But let's see where we are after I get my feet under the desk and then take one step at a time. I am not going to come here and knock the place down but we certainly need to put in good structures and foundations to get the team right."