Why coach Gavin Hunt needs 17 points in the last 10 games to fulfil his mandate at Kaizer Chiefs

Gavin Hunt, head coach of Kaizer Chiefs during the DStv Premiership match between Kaizer Chiefs and Stellenbosch FC at FNB Stadium on April 06, 2021 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Gavin Hunt, head coach of Kaizer Chiefs during the DStv Premiership match between Kaizer Chiefs and Stellenbosch FC at FNB Stadium on April 06, 2021 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix/Gallo Images

Kaizer Chiefs need at least 17 points in their last 10 games to fulfil a minimum requirement top eight finish in the DStv Premiership‚ coach Gavin Hunt has said on the back of his team’s Caf Champions League heroics in Guinea on the weekend.

Chiefs pulled off their biggest success of a battling season reaching the Champions League quarterfinals with a dramatic 2-2 draw against classy Horoya in Conakry on Saturday night‚ and will aim to utilise the momentum of that ensuring a decent Premiership finish.

Hunt’s team are unbeaten in seven games in league and cup matches.

The coach would surely appreciate the highest placing possible in his maiden season at a big three club‚ but a minimum requirement will be improving on their current ninth and reaching the top eight‚ avoiding matching Chiefs’ worst two PSL finishes of ninth.

That mission will start when Chiefs meet 12th-placed Baroka FC at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Thursday (kickoff 3pm).

“We’ve got 23 points‚ we’re going to need another 17 points in the league to get ourselves into the top [half]‚ and that’s minimum‚” Hunt said. “Seventeen in 10 sounds doable‚ but it’s easier said than done.

“PSL football is totally different from the Champions League. Champions League is much slower‚ physical‚ much more direct‚ where the PSL is much more movement.

“So you’ve got to adapt. And we’ve got a hell of a game with Baroka on Thursday.

“The travelling to the stadium [in Conakry] was an absolute disaster – two hours in a bus‚ through traffic and so on. We’ll regroup and go from there.”

Hunt explained the changes he made against Horoya‚ which turned around a dominant opening half to the physical West African outfit‚ and saw Chiefs match them blow for blow in the second.

He said he hopes some of the contributors as substitutes – notably Dumisani Zuma and Lazarous Kambole – can continue to produce more‚ as previous mediocre performances have resulted in a lack of depth off the bench for the coach for most of 2020-21.

“What we did was I tried to go a bit narrow on the left taking Happy Mashiane off‚ and we played ‘Mshini’ [Nkosingiphile Ngcobo] on the left. Obviously we needed Kambole to come in and we put Khama Billiat at No.9.

“And you know‚ Billiat’s a striker‚ not a wide player. But I haven’t had the opportunity to play him there because we’ve been struggling in the wide areas.

“So the movement at ‘9’ got much better. I dropped Lebogang Manyama down [into midfield] at the start of the first half and we got Kambole up [behind Billiat].

“Then once we went 2-1 I brought Dumisani Zuma on [for Manyama] on the right to try to give us a bit of balance there‚ and had Kambole and Billiat up – so we played with two ‘9s’ and Mshini on the left.

“Then the longer the game went at 2-2 we had to just solidify‚ bringing Willard Katsande on to help Njabulo Blom.

“I think Njabulo again was man-of-the-match. He was outstanding. He’s getting better and better in every game‚ and he’ll be one for the future. He’s got legs‚ he can play.

“We have to look at our bench now going forward because we need people like the Zumas to come in and help us. And I mean‚ he’s got so much ability but he’s got to have the mental attitude. And he’s one‚ and everybody else‚ Kambole [too].”

The 2020-21 Champions League quarterfinal draw is scheduled for Friday‚ April 30.

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