Kaizer Chiefs’ new coach Gavin Hunt has his job cut out for him at Amakhosi as he might have to work with the current crop of players for the rest of the season, following the one-year transfer ban that hangs over the club.
JOHANNESBURG – It is clear that it will take a while before Kaizer Chiefs become a fully-fledged team mentally and organisationally after they were out-muscled by one of their bitter rivals on Saturday.
Chiefs lost 3-0 to champions Mamelodi Sundowns in their first game of the new Premiership season thanks to goals from new signings Peter Shalulile and Kermit Erasmus and newly-crowned Footballer of the Season Themba Zwane.
Chiefs’ new coach Gavin Hunt has his job cut out for him at Amakhosi as he might have to work with the current crop of players for the rest of the season, following the one-year transfer ban that hangs over the club.
The way Sundowns’ new players have settled and were at the core of their victory, was a painful reminder for Hunt that it may take a while before his troops adapt to his philosophy.
“We are miles away (from being a stabilised team mentally), miles away,” said Hunt, who’s won the championship four times between his stints at SuperSport United and Bidvest Wits despite working with tight budgets.
“You can play badly, and that’s part of the game, there’s no excuses. So we are very far away from what I expect from the football team. We are very far away from what I know the team needs. But the personnel, we need to change it.”
The Glamour Boys have to turn their league campaign around on Tuesday evening when they clash with Chippa United away at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth (7.30pm kick-off), and Lehlohonolo Seema’s troops will not be pushovers.
In their opening match against Cape Town City, the Chilli Boys were unfortunate to only bag a point after they fought hard to get the win.
“There’s not much that we can work on,” Hunt added.
“We just have to freshen up. We’ve got a travelling day as well. I need to look at one or two players, but we can’t keep on looking at players because we need to make a decision on the players that we have.”
Hunt may need to make some tough calls in the goalkeeping department.
Captain Itumeleng Khune was responsible for two goals against Sundowns, failing to make a clearance from a corner-kick and conceding a penalty on the stroke of full-time.
The Bafana Bafana international has started both matches thus far, including Chiefs’ 2-1 MTN8 quarter-final victory over Maritzburg United. But his lacklustre performances may be due to the fact that he’s far from his best after only making four domestic appearances last term as Daniel Akpeyi was the designated No 1.
“We can’t be conceding goals like that. It’s something that we’ve learnt from day one. But I obviously have to sort it out, and try to work with the players and the best that we’ve got currently,” said the 56-year-old Hunt.
The Chiefs coach, though, will be pleased that the role of assistant coaches Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard is paying dividends as more development graduates are being integrated into the first team as Lebohang Lesako and Keletso Sifama came on as impact players against Sundowns.