Hunt expresses sympathy for Chiefs colleague Middendorp: 'I think this profession is very lonely'
Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has increasingly cut a forlorn figure in recent weeks as his once dominant charges continue to shred points at an alarming rate and even his Bidvest Wits counterpart Gavin Hunt was moved to express his sympathy as the pressure mounts on his rival.
Long-time leaders Chiefs have contrived to squander what was once a sizeable lead and now find themselves level on points with Mamelodi Sundowns with two games to go before the end of the season.
The title favourites a few months ago suddenly have a fragile look about them and while they remain top of the standings on goal difference‚ they will be under an incredible amount of pressure when they face Chippa United in the penultimate round of the season on Wednesday night‚ and Baroka FC on the final day on Saturday.
Middendorp was so upset he could not even bring himself to face the media after Hunt's charges delivered a last-gasp 1-0 sucker punch that threw the title race wide open a few days ago. And while he was happy to get away with the three points after Chiefs missed a litany of chances to get something from the game‚ Hunt couldn't help feeling sorry for his increasingly lonely colleague.
“I think this profession is very lonely because if you are winning everything is fine and everybody loves you‚ but if you don’t win it’s a different story‚” said Hunt who has won the Premiership title four times.
“They were so close to a earning a point in the last match against us (Wits) but they lost it in the 93th or 94th minute and is not easy to handle. But I think they have enough experience to be calm.
“On a personal level‚ you don’t like to see people‚ especially because they were on top of the log for a long time‚ but we are in a cut-throat and difficult business.
"It doesn’t take anything away from a personal relationship‚ I will still greet and I have no problems with that. I wish them and everybody well.”
Hunt also said it is important for coaches and players to handle pressure in the remaining matches of the season.
“When it comes to this time of the title race‚ where there are a few games to go‚ sometimes a point is not bad.
"People try to win games and it's crazy what happens with players‚ coaches and clubs because the pressure is immense.
"Kaizer Chiefs have not won the league for five to six years and pressure will be even more. What you do between now and the next game is important.
“Do you train‚ under-train‚ over-train or don’t train?
"Sometimes you feel like you need to do more all the time and don’t want to leave any stone unturned and that’s where things happen.
"It is a very difficult time but I am sure they have enough experience and Ernst is an experienced coach with enough know-how‚ so let’s see what happens.”
At the end of the season‚ Hunt will be out of a job after the status of Wits was sold to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM)‚ and he doesn’t know what he will be doing next.
“Right now‚ I am stuck in the bubble. There is nothing and I don’t know what I am going to be doing next season‚
"Obviously‚ I would like to keep on working but there is nothing at the moment‚ nothing.”