It is difficult to call for patience after five trophyless years at Naturena. However, after the arrival of Gavin Hunt the Amakhosi faithful need to do just that and give him time to stamp his authority and embed his winning mentality into the Kaizer Chiefs squad, writes DEAN WORKMAN.
Chiefs have suffered some major psychological set back over the last few years.
First, it was the forced exit of Steve Komphela following a fan riot at the Moses Mabhida Stadium after Chiefs lost a Nedbank Cup semi-final against Free State Stars.
Violence at Moses Mabhida Stadium as Kaizer Chiefs fans run riot after their teams 2-0 defeat to Free State Stars!!!! pic.twitter.com/yFDuZLDNNh
— BBK (@BBKUnplugged99) April 21, 2018
This was meant to be a turning point, but then came in Giovanni Solinas who only lasted 20 matches in a tumultuous start to the 2018/19 season which left Chiefs way off the pace.
Ernst Middendorp was named as the Italians successor in December 2018 and the German coach almost immediately brought in a shape and structure which was not there under Solinas. Middendorp finished the season strongly as Chiefs progressed all the way to the Nedbank Cup final where they faced second division side TS Galaxy, an easy win and trophy, right?
No, the Rockets provided one of the biggest upsets in South African football history as they beat Chiefs 1-0 to become the first side not from the top-flight to win the prestigious trophy, humiliating Chiefs and their legions of supporters in the process.
TS Galaxy 1-0 Kaizer Chiefs. pic.twitter.com/vOFHYwuO7i
— Boromo Mokoena (@Boromo_M) May 18, 2020
Despite fan backlash, Middendorp kept his job and after making a few quality signings the German helped guide Chiefs to the top of the league as he won the first three Coach of the Month awards in the 2019/20 campaign.
Chiefs were flying and they looked destined to end their trophy drought and win their first piece of silverware since Stuart Baxter lead them to the league in 2015, opening up a 13 point-lead at one point.
However, Covid-19 hit and when football resumed inside a bio-secure bubble, Chiefs crumbled as Mamelodi Sundowns went on to snatch the league title on the final day of the season.
Gavin Hunt joins Kaizer Chiefs as coach
Gavin Hunt has been appointed as the new head coach of Kaizer Chiefs. His contract will see him take charge of Amakhosi’s first team for the next three seasons.
— Kaizer Chiefs (@KaizerChiefs) September 17, 2020
The result left everyone associated with Chiefs heartbroken and it did not take long before Middendorp was relieved of his duties.
Now they have appointed a born winner, who demands 100% from every player in his side. The 56-year-old won three consecutive league titles with SuperSport United from 2007/2010, while he also guided the now defunct Bidvest Wits to their first ever league triumph. He has also won each of the South African cup competitions at least once, making him one of the most successful coaches in PSL history.
Having enjoyed such success with clubs of a lesser stature than Chiefs, many Amakhosi fans will be licking their lips at the thought of what Hunt could achieve with a club the size of the Glamour Boys.
His experience of the league, knowledge of local players (both at Chiefs and at other clubs), and his burning desire to win could be just what Chiefs need. He will, though, need time to stamp his authority on a squad filled with big personalities and high earners.
Many may question his style of play, saying that his style is that of a long ball team and does not suit Chiefs.
Hunt, however, does not believe in the style argument. He believes in winning and finds a way of producing results with the players he has at his disposal.
— robertmarawa (@robertmarawa) September 17, 2020
At Chiefs, naturally, he will have a higher standard of player to work with and perhaps we will see a style of football that will please the hoards of Chiefs supporters but in order for that to happen, again, he will need to be given time.
Hunt has a lot of wounds to heal and a structure that needs to be rebuilt. However if given the time to do it he will undoubtedly be a success as he has done at every other club he has managed.
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