While Kaizer Chiefs will not field a complete makeshift team for their Nedbank Cup match, coach Gavin Hunt says he’ll back any fringe player he picks to the fixture.
JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs will not field a complete makeshift team for their domestic cup match on Sunday. However, coach Gavin Hunt says he’ll back any fringe player or new introduction that he might make.
Chiefs’ one-year-long transfer ban by Fifa has played a huge role in their underwhelming campaign thus far. They missed out on MTN8 success after being played off the park by eventual champions Orlando Pirates, who had bolstered their squad.
Their DStv Premiership campaign sees them at eighth on the standings with 18 points, 15 behind leaders and champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who raided the market with ease during the pre-season.
With the league title looking out of reach, Chiefs’ hopes for silverware lie in the Nedbank Cup. But Hunt has his back against the wall – he can’t chop and change or rest his regulars due to the mounting demand for glory.
Considering that they have some personnel in the medical room and on suspension, some players might make a cameo appearance in the Nedbank Cup. Hunt is ready for any outcome.
“Whenever you play a player, you don’t take a risk. But you take a risk when you don’t have someone else. But I believe in the squad we’ve got. If we take someone off, it is not because we are looking at the games ahead,” the 56-year-old coach said.
“If someone comes in, they’ve got my full backing. And I’ve obviously got to live and die by those decisions because if it works, it’s a great tactical change. But if it doesn’t work then you’ll have to face the consequences as the coach.”
Chiefs will open their Nedbank Cup campaign on Sunday when they host GladAfrica Championship side Richards Bay at the FNB Stadium. Chiefs will be eager to win, especially considering their unimpressive record against the so-called minnows.
Chiefs, however, have shown flashes of resurgence since the beginning of the year. Before being defeated 2-1 by Pirates in the last encounter in the league, they were enjoying a fivegame purple patch, thanks to three wins and two draws.
That feat was inspired by youngsters such as Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, 21, and Happy Mashiane, 23, alongside captain Samir Nurkovic. Hunt, though, confirmed that he’s looking to register Sabelo Radebe, 21, for the first team after he impressed in the reserve league.
“I brought a guy up and he has been here two weeks and he is from the Diski Challenge. I saw him play once and I said, ‘he’s got to come to the first team’,” Hunt, who hasn’t been afraid to throw youngsters in the deep end in his illustrious coaching career, said.
“I played him yesterday in a friendly game and he was outstanding. He is another one that we can hopefully register and we might put him in the team for the weekend.