Chiefs coach feels experiment with central defender was a success

Gavin Hunt explains Cardoso's switch to midfield

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Gavin Hunt (Head Coach) of Kaizer Chiefs with Daniel Cardoso.
Gavin Hunt (Head Coach) of Kaizer Chiefs with Daniel Cardoso.
Image: Steve Haag/BackpagePix

As many wondered why centre-back Daniel Cardoso operated in the midfield in Kaizer Chiefs' 1-0 win over AmaZulu on Wednesday, mentor Gavin Hunt has reasoned the defender’s change of position had to do with the unavailability of some of his seasoned troops in that position.

In the past two matches against Maritzburg United and AmaZulu, Chiefs’ midfield was thinned by the absence of Willard Katsande and Lebogang Manyama, hence Hunt resorted to Cardoso to partner new kid on the block Darrel Matsheke in the engine room against Usuthu, where Samir Nurkovic netted the solitary goal that saw Chiefs win.

“I thought Cardoso did very well in the midfield. People think I am mad [to deploy Cardoso in central midfield], but we don’t have anybody else. I had worked with him this week to play in midfield and he was brilliant,’’ noted Hunt.

Yesterday, club spokesperson Vina Maphosa confirmed that both Manyama and Katsande were back at training, meaning they could feature when Amakhosi face Cape Town City at Cape Town Stadium tomorrow (5pm).

Cardoso wasn't the only Chiefs player who was played out of position against Usuthu at Kings Park Stadium, as natural defensive midfielder Akumu Agay was played in the heart of defence, marshalling the rearguard alongside Siyabonga Ngezana.

The absence of experienced central defender Eric Mathoho, who recently lost his father, may have been the main reason Agay was used as a centre-back.

However, Hunt is of the view the towering Kenyan is better suited as a defender than as a midfielder, revealing that he was still trying to understand what role suits him better.

“I am trying to work out what he is. Is he a midfield player? Is a defender? I think long term he’d be better there, but that’s long term,’’ said Hunt.

The Chiefs coach is expecting a tough encounter against City. Even so, he is pleased to play where temperatures are a bit moderate.

“We have two away games in Cape Town [counting their game against Stellenbosch on January 23 as well]. They are very good down there, so it won’t be easy but thank goodness we will be out of the heat a little bit because today [on Wednesday in Durban] was a real hot day,’’ said Hunt.

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