Love him or hate, 'Huntie' has done a lot for soccer

Gavin Hunt
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

I was at Bidvest Wits' training ground a few months ago and had an interesting conversation with coach, Gavin Hunt.

This was early in the season before one of their games. I went to speak to "Huntie" about his preparations and of course I've been to their ground many times for the same reason, but this has stuck with me.

He's always welcoming, always happy to chat. If you meet him after a win, the interview goes for about five minutes, and well, if he has lost, at the most it could be two minutes.

He's more relaxed at training. He's honest, of course, but he's also got a funny side, which makes for great conversation.

On this particular day, he said something interesting.

"I think you guys [the media] should also study coaching courses so you know what to ask coaches why they went for a specific formation," he said.

If I'm being honest, the man is fed up with being asked why a certain player didn't play instead of journalists asking about his tactics - for example why he changed from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 format.

He's always given his honest opinion about everything; the league, referees, national team and even journalists.

Some believe it is his opinions on Bafana Bafana - often critical - and on Safa that has seen him not being given the national team job.

But love or hate him, the man has played his part in SA football, having been a top-flight coach for more than a decade that has brought trophies and individual accolades.

He reached his 750th PSL match against Polokwane City a couple of weeks ago. Only fellow coach Gordon Igesund has more - 816 PSL matches - to his name, although he's not coaching in the country's top league at the moment.

Hunt didn't cut corners in his career. He played the game, coached in the lower leagues [at Seven Stars in the late 90's] and went on to get his Uefa A Licence.

More often than not, coaches are blamed, but here is one of the coaches who brings a lot to the local game, the same way the likes of Pitso Mosimane do.

So to coach Hunt, congratulations on 750 games and may it continue.

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