Gavin Hunt satisfied after throwing rookies in the deep end
Three victories on the trot have seen Chiefs move up on the log, but the performances have been far from perfect
Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt knows his team are a work in progress but has taken satisfaction from the emergence of the youngsters being thrown in.
After a dismal start with just one win from nine games‚ three victories on the trot have seen Chiefs go from 14th place to seventh in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) in less than three weeks.
However, the wins have been far from perfect.
A 1-0 victory over AmaZulu in Durban could have gone either way‚ and Chiefs weathered a storm after taking an early lead in their 2-1 win against Cape Town City. Moreover, Hunt said his side were a touch “heavy” in beating much-troubled Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) at FNB Stadium on Tuesday.
But the most encouraging aspect of the victories has been Chiefs’ young players being thrown in by Hunt, a process hastened by a transfer ban and a squad clearly in need of rebuilding. They have looked more assured since then.
Nkosingiphile Ngcobo and Happy Mashiane scored two goals in Chiefs’ past two games while fellow midfielders Darrel Matsheke and Njabulo Blom have impressed.
Hunt feels he has been getting his balance better between youth and senior heads to lead the youngsters.
“Any successful team will have that transition from young to old and old to young‚ but we need to get the balance right and sometimes maybe the balance has been wrong‚” Hunt said.
“We’ve got to be careful how we do it [introduce young players]‚ but in our situation they have to play and they have to learn very fast.
“I liked Happy from the day I saw him because he’s my type of player. He’s a fantastic crosser of the ball and we need to work on that a little bit more.”
Ngcobo‚ Mashiane and key striker Samir Nurković – his return has brought much-needed movement and purpose to the front line – seem to have established an understanding in the left attacking channel.
“I think any good players can play with anybody‚” Hunt said. “The idea is that we want to try and play into Samir‚ but we can’t all the time.
“If I could get him [Ngcobo] higher up the field‚ which we can’t at the moment because of other situations‚ because he has got some quality and a few goals now. But we need to get him in those better positions more often.
“At the moment we’re trying to work on the defensive side of his game‚ which is something he’s going to have to learn‚ but he’s improving. Hopefully that combination can blossom a bit.”
Hunt is the first to admit Chiefs still have much work to do‚ saying they laboured despite the scoreline against TTM.
“I don’t think it was a great performance. The scoreline reads 3-0 but we looked a bit heavy. The legs looked a bit tired‚ mentally and physically as well. You know, it’s been a bit hectic. But the most important thing was to try and get a result.”
Chiefs have a tough assignment on Saturday against Steve Barker’s tight Stellenbosch FC at Danie Craven Stadium.
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