Shock CAF run may be the only reason Hunt is still at Chiefs

Kaizer Motaung has tough decision to make next week

Nkareng Matshe Sports editor
Kaizer Chief coach Gavin Hunt.
Kaizer Chief coach Gavin Hunt.
Image: Kabelo Leputu/BackpagePix/Gallo Images

Kaizer Motaung has another difficult decision to make after the conclusion of the DStv Premiership next weekend.

Does he continue with Gavin Hunt as Kaizer Chiefs coach or does he look elsewhere again to return the club to its glory days?

Make no mistake, Chiefs supremo Motaung is one of the more level-headed club bosses in our midst. He rarely panics and allows coaches the latitude to self-correct in a bid to get desired results.

But even a man of his patience would be highly frustrated by Hunt’s floundering regime this season. And no, it has little to do with the transfer ban imposed on Amakhosi following the Dax saga.

What should irritate Motaung even more is Chiefs’ inconsistency, where in one week they can become the only team to beat Mamelodi Sundowns in the league and then go on to lose to a relegation-threatened side a few days later. Something is amiss, and it can’t be solely blamed on the fact that Hunt could not sign players he desired when he began his reign.

Insiders say the flaws are the result of a poor work ethic and relations with players. More damningly, they are caused by uncertainty in selection, and we’ve witnessed this so many times.

Hunt has a beautiful CV that includes four league titles, but after Chiefs’ final games against Golden Arrows and TS Galaxy next week, would Motaung and his board consider the possibility that coach and club may not be suited to each other? 

The results have been dire, especially since the turn of the year. But these have been masked by a surprisingly impressive run in the CAF Champions League which has led Amakhosi to an historic first semifinal appearance. We would not be off the mark if we concluded that the unexpectedly good CAF run is the only reason he's still in the job.

Chiefs have been so poor that they lost in the first round of the Nedbank Cup to Richards Bay. Somehow, they’ve beaten only Sundowns and Orlando Pirates in their past 16 league games.

But you can’t ride good fortune for so long. We may talk of Chiefs aiming to reach the Top 8, but the latest defeat to Black Leopards has dragged them into relegation trouble. Something like this has never happened in the club’s history. A Chiefs side which can beat well-resourced teams like Sundowns, Pirates, Wydad Casablanca and Simba, should not be mentioned among relegation candidates.

Hunt inherited Ernst Middendorp’s deflated side, who lost the title to Sundowns in the final half-hour last year and, barring a few injuries, the bulk of the squad remained. Chiefs could well be sitting with a coaching – rather than personnel – problem here. That’s the dilemma Motaung faces when he surveys the wreckage that has been this season.

He may be tolerant, but the Chiefs owner has had his hand forced by poor results before, such as in 2018 when he dismissed an out-of-his-depth Giovanni Solinas after five months. He brought back Middendorp but could not overlook the incompetency of losing the league from such a healthy advantage last year.

Should he fire Hunt, Motaung would be forced to hire a fifth coach in three years, which is uncharacteristic of Chiefs. But making a bold decision will in no way suddenly turn him into a clown akin to Chippa Mpengesi. Will Motaung act though?

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.