Hunt and Barker now licensed to warm the bench

Head coach of SuperSport United Gavin Hunt. | BackpagePix

Head coach of SuperSport United Gavin Hunt. | BackpagePix

Published Jun 12, 2024



The stands are usually every supporter’s dream to watch a football match from, but in the same breath they could be every coach’s nightmare.

SuperSport United coach Gavin Hunt had his nightmarish outings in the stands last season during his team’s run in the CAF Confederation Cup. Hunt was unable to sit on the bench for SuperSport’s games on the continent due to CAF regulations which require coaches to have either a CAF A or Pro coaching licence.

However, Hunt has made sure that he avoids having to cut a lone figure in the stands in the near future, ensuring that he enrols for the CAF A coaching diploma via Safa. And after six months of intense training, Hunt and his 25 classmates from all over the country graduated from their course at Safa House in Nasrec on Friday.

The graduation ceremony was a success for Safa and was attended by CAF’s head of professional football, Mohammad Sidat, who was in the country for the club licensing seminar with the PSL and Hollywoodbets Super League clubs, courtesy of Safa.

Hunt – one of the larger-than-life personalities in SA football – holds a Uefa A coaching licence which the continental mother body, CAF, doesn’t recognise any more for its competitions.

Having coached in the CAF inter-club competitions before at SuperSport, Bidvest Wits and Kaizer Chiefs, Hunt was taken aback by the new regulations.

“I have been sitting on the bench for the last 25 years in the CAF (competitions), and all of the sudden I can’t sit on the bench, so that was a bit disappointing,” Hunt said.

“But hey, like the guy from CAF, Sidat, said, someone is going to have to make a stand. They made a stand, and fair play to them. So, a couple of us got in (to complete the course and earn the licence) because of the situation, so yeah, it was good.”

Hunt’s SuperSport didn’t qualify for continental football next season, but the experienced coach could return to Africa with Sekhukhune United in the Confederation Cup.

Sekhukhune United, who qualified for the Confed Cup via a fourth-place finish in the DStv Premiership, are rumoured to be interested in Hunt’s services after suspending coach Lehlohonolo Seeema.

“I came with an open (mind), which you have to do in this type of thing,” Hunt said. “There was a lot of debate and talk.

“I think we started sometime last year, and yes, it’s been interesting for most of us. We need to see; there was a lot of discussion about football, terminology change and all these types of things.”

“Technology also changes a lot with football, so we need to see. I think in South Africa we need to have these types of things.”

Head coach of Stellenbosch Steve Barker. | BackpagePix

Stellenbosch’s Steve Barker, whose side will compete in next season’s Confederation Cup, was one of Hunt’s classmates.

“I think the course just came at the right time. Obviously, you need that qualification to sit on the bench,” Barker explained.

“I am proud of myself that I got that. My assistant Wesley Sergel was also part of the course. It wasn’t easy, especially having to come on four different occasions.”

Stellies will be making their first appearance in continental football next season after their incredible third-place finish in the DStv Premiership last term. And while the team will be sailing off to foreign lands, Barker said they are ready to conquer and compete after getting a lot of intelligence from those who’ve been there before them.

“We are excited about the journey. I was speaking to coach Eric (Tinkler) and Gavin who have some sort of experience, so we have some sort of insight on what to expect,” Barker said.

“We must go out there and enjoy it even though there’ll be a lot of challenges. You must show resilience and just enjoy the ride. So, we’ll give it a full go.”