JOHANNESBURG – Former Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela believes that the club’s new mentor Gavin Hunt has a thick-enough skin to weather all the storms that will come with holding the reins at Amakhosi.
Hunt was appointed as Chiefs’ head coach last week. This follows the dismissal of Ernst Middendorp and his assistant Shaun Bartlett after the team lost their grip on the Premiership title race on the last day of the season to Mamelodi Sundowns.
However, the pressure that comes with Hunt’s job is enormous. The 56-year-old coach hasn’t only got to bring a breath of fresh air to Chiefs after that slump but he has to ensure that the glory days return with conviction on and off the pitch after a five-year trophy drought.
To ensure that Hunt steers Chiefs back to the pinnacle of South African football, the club confirmed the arrival of Dillion Sheppard and Arthur Zwane as his assistants.
Komphela, who resigned as Chiefs’ head coach early in 2018 after a three-year barren run, knows the demands that comes with holding the top seat at South Africa’s most popular club.
But he backs Hunt to do a sterling job.
“It’s going to be very interesting. I must take the opportunity to congratulate Gavin Hunt. He’s a very close friend of mine, make no mistake. And I don’t think, with utmost respect to all the available coaches in the country, there’s anyone more deserving of the job than Hunt,” said Komphela, at the launch of the Carling Cup of Ages at FNB Stadium yesterday.
“He deserves a shot as well. His pedigree speaks for itself. But I am not going to tell Chiefs supporters or the management what to do. All I can say is ‘maybe the best way to move faster is with the one you have’. But he’s thick-skinned and a big boy.”
Chiefs’ disappointing end to their campaign last season has also raised concerns regarding the players’ determination to don the famous black and gold jersey of the club with distinction.
But a suggestion of a squad overhaul is not an option, considering that Chiefs have been suspended from making any transfers for a year by Fifa.
Nonetheless, Komphela believes that despite the disappointments of last season which even now surround Hunt’s appointment, the Cape Town-born coach should still embrace the joy and pressure that comes with the job.
— Kaizer Chiefs (@KaizerChiefs) September 23, 2020
“I feel sorry for Ernst. Our job is a thankless job. Who could ever go through that? You are on top of the log for the whole season, convincingly so. And you have a lead of double digits. But with 30 minutes to go, you lose it,” Komphela said.
“I still respect him with the strength he portrayed. But that’s part of the game and it could have happened to any of us. But that energy shouldn’t be transferred to Gavin.
However, if it is, he must understand that blessings and burdens are cousins.”