Gavin Hunt. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/PHILIP MAETA
Gavin Hunt. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/PHILIP MAETA

Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt has watched his charges plunge the depths of ignominy, only to be stunned when the same players produced huge wins in big games few expected.

Chiefs once again flattered to deceive when going down 2-1 to Cape Town City at home on Wednesday‚ a result that will not have been good for morale ahead of Sunday’s potentially explosive showdown against league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.

After suffering a seventh league defeat of the season in the match against City‚ the Chiefs coach was asked if the unlikely victories Amakhosi pulled off against Orlando Pirates in the league and Wydad Athletic in the group stages of the Caf Champions League could inspire them against the long-time log leaders in Pretoria.

“Yes and no‚” was Hunt’s response. “I think we should be up for every game. You can’t pick and choose where you want to be up for. So that’s something that I still have to instil in our players‚ but that takes time.”

Chiefs beat their Soweto arch-rivals 1-0 on March 21 before drawing 2-2 against Stellenbosch FC‚ 1-1 against Baroka FC and then finally going down to City.

Amakhosi are also in the last eight of the Champions League with a 1-0 home win over Wydad earlier in April that was crucial in fending off Guinean club Horoya AC. Chiefs beat Horoya to qualify alongside the Moroccan giants in Group C for the quarterfinals.

Hunt admitted there is huge pressure in coaching a club such as Chiefs and feels the absence of supporters at the stadiums due to Covid-19 restrictions has robbed Amakhosi of a vital partner capable of inspiring the team when the chips are down.

“The bottom line‚ as you can see around the world‚ [is that] supporters are everything for football clubs‚” said Hunt. “And it’s important we do better for the supporters.

“I think in a club like Kaizer Chiefs it certainly doesn’t help them not having supporters [in the stands] because that’s been the cornerstone of the football club for the last 50 years.

“So there’s no doubt that it [their absence] has certainly taken a huge chunk out of us while the other clubs don’t get much support. They play week in and week out [without the fans]‚ but a club like Chiefs needs supporters‚ there’s no doubt about it.

“I’m sure they won’t be happy by now, that’s for sure‚ but they would have seen more at a live game.”

Chiefs have struggled in many matches this season‚ most of the time starting in a low gear while also conceding early goals. At times Chiefs have managed to come back and get a draw, but they were not so lucky on Wednesday against City who sprinted into a 2-0 lead at FNB Stadium within 60 minutes.

“Hugely frustrating‚” Hunt said of Chiefs’ lukewarm start in most of their league matches this season. “I know what needs to be done. For sure that’s what I have to get right. I mean, we need to be better at the start of the game. That’s for sure.”

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