The Hunt may be over, but the journey to success begins!
THE HUNT may be over, but the journey to success begins! That humongous sense of optimism has filled everyone associated with Kaizer Chiefs after the club confirmed the highly-anticipated arrival of astute coach Gavin Hunt on Thursday.
It had been a week since Amakhosi fired coach Ernst Middendorp. The guillotine fell on the German after his team unceremoniously lost their grip of the title race on the final day of the season, losing the championship to Mamelodi Sundowns.
As a number of personnel backed the decision of the club to release Middendorp and his assistant Shaun Bartlett, petitions and suggestions from the Amakhosi faithful to have Hunt take over the reins gained momentum.
The 56-year-old coach was jobless at the end of the season, following the sale of Bidvest Wits to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, who opted against keeping his services due to his asking price, ahead of the new season.
But Chiefs’ management finally put the speculation of who’ll be their new commander in chief – after names of personnel such as Benni McCarthy and Adel Amrouche were also thrown in the basket – announcing that Hunt will take over the reins ahead of next season on a three-year contract.
“We looked at our situation and our needs before deciding on Gavin,” said Chiefs’ el supremo Kaizer Motaung in a statement from the club.
“He brings with him an abundance of experience, having coached about five teams in the Premiership. There is success wherever he has coached.”
Hunt brings a wealth of experience and success to Naturena, following a 25-year coaching career that has yielded eight domestic trophies. This includes four coveted league championships, of which three was with SuperSport United and one with Wits.
But the Cape Town-born coach’s job is already cut out for him at Chiefs as he has to dust off a trophy cabinet that has gathered nothing but dust in the last five seasons. The closest the team came to any silverware was ending runners-up for the title this year and being silver-medallists in the Nedbank Cup last year.
“I think it’s time for Chiefs to get back to winning ways. And I think that whenever he (Hunt) has been, that has been clear. His record speaks for itself,” Chiefs’ former goalkeeper William “Cool Cat” Shongwe said.
“I worked with Gavin at SuperSport and his desire has always been to infiltrate the continent. And what Pitso Mosimane has done, in local football, has been driven by Caf football experience. And an ambitious coach such as Gavin Hunt has taken to that.”
In his mandate to ensure that Chiefs go toe-to-toe with Sundowns for the domestic and continental honours next season, Hunt is earmarked to be assisted by Doctor Khumalo and astute development mentor Kwanele Kopo, The duo are expected to hook up with the team on three-year contracts.
Khumalo, a club legend, is targeted by Motaung’s office as someone who’ll share his wealth of knowledge about the history and culture of the club to Hunt. Kopo, on the other hand, is expected to have an influential role in linking the development structures with the seniors.
“Yes, he’s got his own people. But I think that when it comes to his assistant that will depend on the policy of the club. You must remember that Chiefs also have legends that have achieved so much at the club,” Shongwe said.
Hunt will begin his new role on Monday, with the players expected to meet their new commander in chief sometime next week.