Anthony Akumu was never a midfielder‚ says Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt
Anthony Akumu was never a midfielder‚ Gavin Hunt has said of the Kenyan he has successfully converted to centreback in times of need at Kaizer Chiefs in recent games.
Akumu‚ tall and calm as a defender‚ has put in some assured performances at centreback as Chiefs have missed players in defence‚ in one of two notable positional switches in Amakhosi’s two wins in succession that have suggested Hunt is finally finding answers at his new team after a dismal start to the 2020-21 season.
Daniel Cardoso‚ normally a centre-back‚ has been shifted successfully to providing a rock in front of the defence in anchor midfield in Chiefs’ 1-0 win against AmaZulu in Durban on Wednesday‚ and 2-1 victory against Cape Town City at Cape Town Stadium.
“He’s not a midfield player‚ no chance. I don’t know what he was signed as but he’s not a midfield player‚” Hunt said of Akumu’s switch to defence.
“And he’s played the last three‚ four games at centre-back‚ because obviously we’ve got problems.
“He’s done well‚ I thought he was excellent again [at the weekend]. And may long it continue.”
Cardoso has operated in defensive midfield between a left and right advanced central midfielders‚ inside of two wingers‚ and behind a lone striker (Samir Nurkovic back from injury).
The 4-5-1 formation has brought solidity and symmetry to Chiefs‚ and also allows for an array of attacking options.
“Daniel Cardoso was actually a striker. And then he ended up playing at the back. But I think he’s better in midfield‚” Hunt said.
“I think with Katsande out and ‘Tower’ [Mathoho out]‚ which meant Akumu going to the back‚ we didn’t have anybody to play in that position‚ and I think Cardoso’s done very well.
"Because he does give you extra options [as he can drop back into defence]‚ like [on Saturday]‚ without making a change.
“But right now‚ I don’t even think about the next game – we’re just trying to get a few results.”
Chiefs’ two wins in succession took them from 14th place‚ just above the relegation zone‚ to eighth in the space of four days last week.
They will be looking for three more points hosting 13th-placed Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila at FNB Stadium.
Tshakhuma‚ who bought the franchise of Hunt’s ex-team Bidvest Wits in the off-season‚ have won once in 2020-21‚ with disruptive reports of players not being paid and the club being up for sale already.
They have not won in seven games‚ their last win coming against Baroka FC at home on November 22.