Gavin Hunt clearly wasn’t in the most fantastic of moods after another Kaizer Chiefs defeat on Tuesday evening. The curt answers he gave in his post-match television interview, in one sense, spoke volumes about how he was feeling after a fourth defeat in eight games in all competitions this season.
In another sense, however, it really didn’t. You see, there is a danger in trying to read too much into a grumpy Gavin Hunt because, frankly, grumpy has been his go-to mood in interviews since his PSL coaching career began 100 years ago.
As such, any talk that he has already had enough at Chiefs and is thinking of leaving is just that, talk, as, surely, is the idea that Amakhosi might sack a man they only hired just over two months ago.
It has been a poor start for the Chiefs head coach, who arrived amid much fanfare, not to say a little relief from Kaizer Chiefs fans who were not enthused by Ernst Middendorp’s second spell in charge, even though he nearly won them the league. But there are also mitigating factors.
It is too simplistic to say Hunt inherited Middendorp’s squad, and so should be challenging the likes of Sundowns and Pirates at the top of the table. For one, this is not Hunt’s squad, and he is specific about the players he targets and the systems he plays. Second, Hunt has not had the benefit, as Sundowns, Pirates, and even surprise table-toppers Swallows have had of entering the transfer market, with Amakhosi serving a two-window transfer ban.
Just as an example, Bafana Bafana left back Sifiso Hlanti was training with Chiefs in the hope of signing, but when the transfer ban was upheld, he moved to Swallows, though Phakaaathi’s understanding is that he will sign for Chiefs next season, once the ban is lifted. Not that this helped Hunt, who watched his former player at Wits help the Birds keep a clean sheet, while his own problems at left back have been well documented.
However, even with all of these valid excuses, Chiefs’ start to the season has been a total shocker, from the two-legged Soweto derby humiliation to a Premiership humiliation by Sundowns, to the hapless draws with TS Galaxy and Golden Arrows.
Chiefs’ attacking stars have been narcoleptic, though Leonardo Castro has at least woken up in the last couple of games. Khama Billiat, however, has clearly not, summed up by a ridiculously over-hit cross after being beautifully set up by Castro early in the Swallows match.
Amakhosi now have a long-haul trip for a Caf Champions League qualifier in Cameroon this weekend, before their return leg and a league game against Black Leopards coming up in early December. With fixtures coming thick and fast, there isn’t even much time for Hunt to fix any problems on the training ground.