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Chiefs’ Hunt for redemption begins

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In Gavin Hunt, Kaizer Chiefs have an astute and experienced mentor who’s aiming to return the club back to the pinnacle of South African football with the squad that he has at his disposal.

Kaizer Chiefs fans are pinning their hopes on Gavin Hunt to restore the pride of the Glamour Boys. Picture: Itumeleng English, African News Agency(ANA)

KAIZER Chiefs’ new coach Gavin Hunt has kept his usual calm and optimistic demeanour about him, insisting the dark cloud that’s hanging over the club won’t deter them from pursuing their targets in the upcoming season.

Chiefs are currently barred from signing any players during the currently open transfer window. This follows after they were slapped with a one-year transfer ban by Fifa, following irregularities during the signing of Arohasina Andrianarimanana in 2018.

The outcome of Chiefs’ appeal to have their ban lifted is still up in the air, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport yet to make their ruling and now Amakhosi has been forced to sit back and watch as their rivals raid the market beefing up their respective squads for the looming next term.

But in Hunt, who replaced Ernst Middendorp, Chiefs have an astute and experienced mentor who’s aiming to return the club back to the pinnacle of South African football with the squad that he has at his disposal.

“I have been well received at the club. Everything is in place to be successful.

“We know the situation, of the signing of players and everything,” Hunt, a four-time league winning coach, said.

“We’ve got a squad that did very well last year but was very unfortunate. So, we’ll try to work on that. And hopefully the ruling will be made sooner (rather) than later.”

Hunt added: There’s not much I can really say about the whole thing, but the players have been committed at training. But proof will be there on Sunday. I haven’t been here for longer.

“But there’s no time for excuses. The good thing is I know the league and players.”

Amakhosi fell from grace in the last five seasons, after failing to deliver a trophy to their cabinet. But that agony was made unbearable last season after they lost out on the Premiership title on the final day of the season, despite leading for the better part of the season.

In ensuring that Hunt’s stint at the clubs reaps success, the 56-year-old will be deputised by Dillion Sheppard who’s had a successful run with the development ranks at defunct Bidvest and Arthur Zwane who knows the ins and outs of the club.

“There were a lot of backward and forward turns of the staff before I came. Arthur has been here and I know him very well. He’s been great help so far and I am sure that we can get better with time,” Hunt said.

“I started Sheppy’s career when he was 17 and he’s been with me at 38 as a coach. I think he’ll do very well as a coach in the future. He’s enthusiastic. He works well with the youth and that has been the whole idea to get the Diski players on par with the first team.”

Hunt’s first assessment as Chiefs’ commander in chief will begin on Sunday when Amakhosi will clash with Maritzburg United in the MTN8 quarter-finals at FNB Stadium (3pm kick-off). No doubt he, the team and the supporters will be hoping that they take this shot at redemption with aplomb.

Hunt, though, knows that Maritzburg who finished seventh last season won’t be pushovers, having defeated Chiefs twice in three matches last season, saying:

“I don’t think they’ll be any different compared to last season. They’ll be competitive. I know what to expect and hopefully we can get the players to a situation they can understand – which I know they do.”