Chiefs coach prefers ball-playing midfielders to strongmen

Chiefs' Katsande, Akumu may not suit Hunt's plans

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Willard Katsande of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Eva Nga of Bidvest Wits.
Willard Katsande of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Eva Nga of Bidvest Wits.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/Gallo Images/BackpagePix

One-dimensional midfielders like Willard Katsande and Anthony Akumu could struggle for game time at Kaizer Chiefs as coach Gavin Hunt demands players playing in the middle of the part to be more effective defensively and offensively.

In Tuesday’s 1-0 victory away against Chippa United, Hunt started ball-playing midfielders Njabulo Blom and Kearyn Baccus. Katsande, who’s most effective at breaking up opponent attacks, came on later to close shop, while Akumu, a similar player to him, didn’t even make the match-day team.

Despite winning the match via a Gregory Damons own goal, Chiefs put in a near-perfect shift and the efficiency of ball players in the midfield was one of the factors.

Hunt was impressed with his side’s coherence in the middle of the park. The Glamour Boys' mentor challenged his midfielders to be able to defend and attack.

“That’s my way I’ve always played. It’s good for my eye. The football we played today was some excellent football at times,’’ Hunt said on Tuesday.

“Our midfield tonight was really comfortable and that’s what we are trying to get to, obviously with energy to get up and support up and defend. I don’t like defensive midfield players or attacking midfield players, they must be able to do both jobs.”

Chiefs’ win at Chippa came hours after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed their appeal against a two transfer window ban that stems from unlawfully signing Madagascan midfielder Andriamirado “Dax” Andrianarimanana from his native side Fosa Juniors in 2018.

Hunt remains unfazed by the CAS verdict, promising that he’ll do his best to improve the side with what’s available.

“I’ve been working for the last month under the illusion that it was not going to get turned over and it didn’t. So, I’ve got to make it better and I will try to improve the team ... try to improve the players,’’ said Hunt.

“I mean, obviously as we know it’s certain players in certain positions that we lack, but it is what it is. I must just get on with it. So, one step forward trying to mould players [in] the way I am thinking and the way I want to play. We will go from there.’’

Chiefs hope to reproduce the performance they showed at Chippa when they travel to Orlando Stadium to face arch-rivals Orlando Pirates in the first leg of the MTN8 semifinals on Saturday (3pm).

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