Category : Football | Posted on 2020-09-11 By : Opinion Image : Front Runner
Back in 2012, just after Kaizer Chiefs had fired Vladimir Vermezovic following a poor spell which saw him failing to win the Absa Premiership title, a lot was said about Amakhosi’ supremo Kaizer Motaung and his comments about local coaches.
Many just responded to the headlines which were screaming that Motaung Snr had said South Africa’s biggest football club is not ready for a local coach.
Motaung Snr had made this statement on the sidelines of a press conference during one on one interviews, and interestingly the most important part of it didn’t make it to some articles at the time.
In that season of 2011/2012, Chiefs finished in a lowly fifth position and Vermezovic was fired just a month before end of the season.
Responding to questions from journalists in the mixed zone interview, Motaung Snr said in searching for VV’s successor there were no local coaches available at the time who could take over the project Chiefs was embarking on.
And he specifically spoke about two local coaches (Pitso Mosimane and Gavin Hunt) who were committed at the time, but that they did fit the profile of a coach they were looking for.
Mosimane was in the middle of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign with Bafana Bafana then and Gavin Hunt was leading SuperSport United in a title race against eventual champions and treble winners Orlando Pirates and Gordon Igesund’s Moroka Swallows.
Motaung Snr, who is known for having brought some of the best coaches to local football from Ted Dumitru, Jeff Butler, Paul Dolezar, Muhsin Ertugral and more, has always been consistent of his praise for Mosimane, and Hunt in particular.
The former Orlando Pirates and Atlanta Chiefs striker also headed the South African Football Association (SAFA) technical committee in the early 2000’s and this is where he was also instrumental in the appointment of coaches like Carlos Queiroz and Stuart Baxter. And it didn’t come as surprise that he went for Baxter after releasing VV in 2012 as he had worked with him during his first stint with Bafana from 2004.
In one of the articles celebrating Chiefs’ 50th anniversary recently, where the supporters were asking the Chairman 50 questions, a stand out question was “Why is it difficult for local coaches to handle Chiefs” , and the response was very interesting and Motaung Snr saw it fit include Mosimane and Hunt again in this response.
Read More: Chairman’s #KaizerChiefs50 Q&A
It is this consistency on the two which almost saw Mosimane crossing the floor to Naturena two months ago until Mamelodi Sundowns President Patrice Motsepe offered him a four-year contract and he rewarded him with a La Decima, fifth league title and 10th trophy since his arrival in December 2012.
In achieving this feat, Mosimane overtook Chiefs in the final 19 minutes of the season after they had led the log standings for 379 days and Ernst Middendorp and his troops couldn’t finish a job which would’ve seen Amakhosi winning their fifth league title in the PSL era and also their first silverware in five years.
It didn’t come as a surprise when the Amakhosi board decide to terminate the contract of Middendorp this week, and that of his assistant Shaun Bartlett, ending their reign as a failed project which also lost a Nedbank Cup final to First Division side TS Galaxy last year.
In looking for options to replace Middendorp, Chiefs who have previously dilly dallied on making these crucial decisions and settling on a suitable candidate, appeared to have learnt from their mistakes.
The choice of Hunt, a four time league champion, the second most successful coach in the PSL era after Mosimane currently, appeals for various reasons. The FIFA transfer ban which they have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and are awaiting a verdict following a hearing this week, presents them with some challenges.
A local coach who is familiar with the PSL and their current squad and also who is an upgrade from their past two appointments in particular, will bring some relief to the multitudes of the Chiefs fans, as there are also no guarantees that the appeal to CAS will be successful.
Hunt who won three league titles at SuperSport United and also brought a first league title in 97 years at Bidvest Wits, will also be an upgrade on the Chiefs bench, considering their last two head coach appointments. The hashtag #Gavin Hunt has been trending on Twitter throughout this week with Chiefs fans instructing the club’s hierarchy in no uncertain terms to do the obvious.
Unlike back in 2012 where Motaung Snr ended up settling for Baxter, one of the two local coaches he’s always wanted at the club is now available and not attached to anyone after his previous employers Bidvest Wits decided to sell their PSL status to Tshakuma Tsha Madzivhandila who are relocating the club to Limpopo.
Khumalo to assist Hunt?
With the head coaching hunt now almost a done deal, the Chiefs think tank is now believed to be finalizing its technical team and it will be interesting to see who they finally go for as the club has always believed in having a tradition of roping in a former player on the bench.
With reports and speculation overdrive linking the club’s legend and arguably the most popular Chiefs player in the history of the club Doctor Khumalo with a return to the club’s bench, what would he bring to a combination with Hunt?
Khumalo was Baxter’s assistant between 2012 and 2015 when they won two league titles and four knockout trophies, he’s qualified SAFA Pro License Coach and Instructor, with years of experience as youth coach, assistant coach and technical director at Baroka FC.
The former Bafana Bafana midfielder is said to be highly methodological and respected analytical coach by his peers.
In this challenging period Chiefs is going through with a divided dressing room, still suffering the aftereffects of Middendorp’s dictatorial attitude, those in the know say Khumalo would help to bring some calmness, winning mentality and Amakhosi cultural understanding that is key to a demoralized dressing room filled with egos and international experience.
The fact that these players and the club, faces a tumultuous period of non-performance, instability and psychological ramifications, a big figure like Khumalo nurtured at the club, will certainly come handy in uplifting the spirit of all.
At this stage, a combination of Hunt and Khumalo with six league titles next to their names makes a lot of sense.
But this could also be time for Chiefs to follow the trends of modern football and upgrade by doing something they haven’t explored on in recent seasons - two assistant coaches.
Benefits of two assistant coaches
The hallmark of a successful and modern football institutions across the world is vested on the acceptance of the evolution of the coaching sphere.
Hence today’s leaders in football, e.g Liverpool, PSG and Flamengo, has embraced the concept of an extended innovative team. This coaching crew allows for the club to have expert technicians supporting the head Coach or manager.
It is time Chiefs have two full time assistants (a performance coach and first team coach) to support the head coach.
1. Performance coach
Outlines and coordinates the individual player performance programme, and integrate the work done by the youth coaches on the academy graduates.
Also he liaises with the physical conditioning coaches to benchmark the football performance programme of the club
2. First team assistant
The right hand man to the head coach, tasked with coordinating the technical-tactical programme and providing support and mentorship to all players.
As the multitudes of Chiefs fans wait to hear who will be replacing Middendorp and Bartlett, it would be interesting to see what ithe board and management of Amakhosi is cooking in the background.