Kaizer Chiefs’ mental strength is far short of where it needs to be at the start of the 2020-21 campaign‚ coach Gavin Hunt has said after seeing his team open their league campaign with a 3-0 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns.
Hunt has much to ponder after last season’s runners-up — under a transfer ban currently from Fifa — were outclassed at the FNB Stadium by champions Downs‚ who have been on a spending spree.
Hunt knows he might not be able to go to the market to bolster his squad if an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport fails‚ and in that case he needs to get the best from the squad he has.
From that perspective‚ one aspect that needs immediate attention is the mental side‚ the coach admitted.
“No, we’re miles away. You can play badly‚ but that side of the game — there’s no excuse for that side of the game‚” Hunt said after Saturday’s defeat when asked about where Chiefs are mentally.
“We’re very far away from what I expect from a football team‚ what I know a football team needs. And we need to change it‚ that’s for sure.”
It is hard to tell to what extent Chiefs were carried by aiming for success‚ and to reverse what was then a four-season trophy barren spell‚ in their 50th anniversary season last campaign.
Certainly‚ coach Ernst Middendorp’s awkward tactics and game plan got the team within reach of that as they led the Premiership for almost the entire campaign‚ having a 13-point lead over Sundowns in December.
The manner in which they spurned that lead‚ then capitulated somewhat meekly on the final day‚ must have had a deflating effect.
It is up to Hunt to find the key to restoring a spring in the step and have Chiefs challenging again.
TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)