Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt. Picture: SYDNEY MAHLANGU/BACKPAGEPIX
Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt. Picture: SYDNEY MAHLANGU/BACKPAGEPIX

Life on the Kaizer Chiefs bench has been frustrating for Gavin Hunt who has at times had the look of a man sitting on a bed of hot coals.

The excitement that greeted his arrival at Naturena in September has been replaced by a cloud of gloom as Chiefs lurch from one disappointing result to the next.

Tuesday night’s 2-1 league defeat to SuperSport United plunged Hunt into a fresh bout of despair. It was yet another game Chiefs should have won but somehow contrived to lose.

Chiefs host Bloemfontein Celtic at FNB Stadium on Saturday and the Naturena side will need to put the disappointment of Tuesday behind them if they are to avoid another setback against the tricky Bloemfontein side.

Midfielder Lebogang Manyama conceded that Celtic are formidable adversaries.

“We dominated large parts of the game [against United]‚ probably the best game we have played all season as a team and as individuals‚” lamented Manyama.

“Obviously there a lot of positives to take [from the defeat]. I can’t really speak about the mistakes, they speak for themselves. We know we are not supposed to do them. Come Saturday [against Celtic] we need to have the same energy‚ the same hunger‚ a bit more‚ and obviously fewer mistakes.”

While Celtic are 10th on the standings‚ their position conceals that they are a dangerous side that can go toe to toe with any team in the league.

Manyama is well aware of the threat they pose and warned that the Free State visitors carry more than enough guns to make life difficult for Chiefs at FNB stadium.

“Celtic are unbelievable on the break‚” he said. “They have just played a cup final [the MTN8 against Orlando Pirates]‚ but they could not win it [Celtic were beaten 2-1]. But they immediately bounced back in their next game [beating Baroka 2-0 on Wednesday].

“They are quick on the counter‚ very good on the ball‚ very good players‚ [Ndumiso] Mabena‚ [Tebogo] Potsane‚ [Lantshene] Phalane ... the core of the team is very strong and we know what to expect.

“They love playing with the ball. But the onus is on us to show the same performance we showed against SuperSport. And a bit more‚ obviously try to take our chances and bury the game early which we had a chance to do against SuperSport.”

Chiefs are just five points from basement side Maritzburg United and such has been their decline it is easy to forget that they finished runners-up to champions Mamelodi Sundowns last season. They have won only one game in seven outings and will be desperate to end the year with a semblance of stability.

“We need the points to move away from the bottom‚ so when we restart next year we start with a bit more confidence‚” Manyama said.

Weekend fixtures:

FRIDAY: Maritzburg United vs Stellenbosch at Harry Gwala Stadium (7pm)

SATURDAY: Golden Arrows vs Mamelodi Sundowns at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium (3.30pm); Baroka vs SuperSport United at Peter Mokaba Stadium (3.30pm); Kaizer Chiefs vs Bloemfontein Celtic at FNB Stadium (6pm); Cape Town City vs TS Galaxy at Cape Town Stadium (6pm)

SUNDAY: Black Leopards vs Swallows at Thohoyandou Stadium (3.30pm); AmaZulu vs Chippa United at Kings Park Stadium (3.30pm)

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