Gavin Hunt has downplayed as ‘another match’ what is supposed to be arguably ‘the match’ that a lot hangs on.
The Absa Premiership encounter between Hunt’s Bidvest Wits and log leaders Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium this Sunday afternoon has the potential not only to decide the destination of the league but could also have a say on the future of both coaches.
If anything, it is a match where Hunt, whose future beyond the last match of this season, ought to bring out his coaching masterclass.
For the four times PSL winning coach, a win could go a long way in boosting his chances to assuming the role held by his Chiefs counterpart Ernst Middendorp, who has not been a fan favourite despite leading Amakhosi to the summit of the league.
Hunt to Chiefs has been like a stuck record but now with Wits’ sale and Hunt’s availability the stakes are even higher. Middendorp, whose current deal with Chiefs is expected to end in June next year, needs a win badly to get his side’s title chances back on track following a 1-0 defeat by second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns, who are on the same points 53 points.
Against Hunt, a misstep by Middendorp could spell disaster for the German as anything less than victory could jeopardize Chiefs title chances and Middendorp’s employment.
The outcome will also have an impact on Hunt’s future provided he harbours ambitions of coaching the Naturena based side. Despite the stakes, Hunt says they will approach Chiefs like any other match.
“Every game is a big game. The motivation is the same every game. It’s another game so obviously we are going to try our best and that’s it,” Hunt told FARPost.
Consciously on unconsciously, Hunt will go into the afternoon game aware that he is a watched man. Though Hunt, a veteran of decades in coaching, might not be under pressure to deliver, his players will be out to make an impression since some of them face uncertain futures.
For Chiefs players, it’s also a chance to show all and sundry that their run this season was no fluke. The loss to Sundowns should have been the most devastating for Chiefs and this afternoon players have to rise to the occasion in order to strengthen their lead at the top.
Since the resumption of the league Amakhosi have managed five out of a possible 15 points following one win, two losses and two draws. Chiefs legend Albert Bwalya says Middendorp’s men have to forget about their recent mishaps and focus of amassing maximum points this afternoon.
“We just need to get the results against Celtic and Sundowns out of our head. The players need to go into the Wits game with a winning spirit and if they do that, they will win,” Bwalya told Kaizerchiefs.com.
Chiefs’ rivals Sundowns, who trail the log leaders via goal difference, will also be gunning for maximum points when they host relegation-threatened Baroka FC at Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto this evening.
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By Hosea Ramphekwa