The Premier Soccer League’s longest-serving coach Gavin Hunt is at crossroads.
Hunt has been informed by the club’s new owners in no uncertain terms that he’s free to move on. “Coach Gavin Hunt is a highly respected and good coach but unfortunately we won’t be able to afford him hence we said he can look for a job elsewhere,” Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila CEO Sello Chokoe was quoted by TimesLive on Saturday night.
This was after confirmation that Masala Mulaudzi, who sold the Limpopo club’s GladAfrica Championship status to Simon Malatji, is now in charge of Wits and will be moving the club to Limpopo, pending PSL approval.
The players who have offers from elsewhere are also free to leave, such as Thulani Hlatshwayo, Deon Hotto, Haashim Domingo and Thabang Monare.
Hunt, who’s been coaching in the PSL since the late 90s, also has to find a new home. For a man with four League titles, it’s only a matter of time before he signs on the dotted lines somewhere. For now, he has a year left with Wits and he’s likely to agree a settlement.
WHAT ARE GAVIN HUNT’S OPTIONS?
The Cape Town-born mentor has suggested he may not coach one of the big three; Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Mamelodi Sundowns. “The problem if you go to the top three clubs is you’re not the boss. I had a meeting with a chairman from one of the top three. And it was a great meeting. He said: ‘I want you to be the coach’. I said: ‘Ja fantastic’. I said: ‘Mr Chairman there’s only one problem here — you’ve got four or five bosses. Here (at Wits) I’m the boss’. He said: ‘No‚ no‚ that will never work’. I said: ‘I’m the boss. You know‚ I’ve got to bring‚ sell and buy [players]. Obviously [as the owner] you sell‚ but I’ve got to say this one can go and whatever’. And obviously it went nowhere; nothing happened.”
Be that as it may, Hunt is still linked with a move to Naturena, where Ernst Middendorp is currently on the hottest. The Motaungs have shown in the past that their coaches have some freedom. Think of when Stuart Baxter arrived at the club in 2012 and brought in a lot of players that he needed, and went on to win two championships. Chiefs remains a good option for Hunt.
Cape Town City
Born in the city, Hunt would cherish an opportunity to coach in his hometown yet again having been away for most of his coaching career since his days at Seven Stars and Hellenic. The ‘Citizens’ currently have Jan Olde Riekerink in charge, but club boss John Comitis would be delighted to have on board a coach of Hunt’s caliber.
He made history by winning three consecutive PSL titles with ‘Matsatsantsa’ and they would be delighted to welcome him back. The Tshwane team has done fairly well under Kaitano Tembo, going as far as winning the MTN8 earlier in the 2019/20 campaign and being in third place in the League, but Hunt’s availability may lead to changes in the technical team depending on how things go for SuperSport down the line.
Usuthu have a caretaker coach in Ayanda Dlamini and he’s assisted by Moeneeb Josephs since Jozef Vukusic was placed on special leave while some “internal matters” were being investigated by the club. For now, the move to Durban may be unlikely for Hunt given that AmaZulu are not safe from relegation and Hunt would probably prefer a more stable club. If AmaZulu survive the chop, it could be a good start ahead of next season, with Hunt at the helm.
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*Pictures courtesy of Bidvest Wits.
By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa