Mamelodi Sundowns v Kaizer Chiefs

Kaizer Chiefs under no illusion about 'formidable' Mamelodi Sundowns - Hunt

11:33 EAT 25/04/2021
Gavin Hunt, Kaizer Chiefs, December 2020
The Soweto giants are in Tshwane to face unbeaten Masandawana and the Amakhosi tactician is aware of the challenge awaiting them

Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt feels last week’s home defeat by Cape Town City has “put added pressure” on their trip to Loftus Versfeld for Sunday’s Premier Soccer League confrontation against Mamelodi Sundowns.

Chiefs were in the middle of enjoying an eight-game unbeaten run across all competitions when Cape Town City beat them 2-1 at FNB Stadium on Wednesday. 

It was a result which further complicated Amakhosi’s top-eight bid and Hunt feels it also added more weight on their shoulders ahead of facing a “formidable” Sundowns side whose pedigree is underlined by not tasting defeat in 21 league games this season. 

“They are a very formidable side. They invested heavily into their side,” Hunt told the Chiefs website

“They have a very good squad of players and good coaches. The guys have been around and are very experienced. Obviously, they have a huge arsenal of players.

"We are under no illusions, we are away from home so it’s going to be a big ask from us, but we are fit and ready to do our best.

“With the games coming so thick and fast in a week, it’s not easy when you play teams such as Sundowns and Cape Town City. Even with the derbies when we played Pirates earlier, the games were tight. 

"We only get a couple of days for preparation and we go again. We are looking forward to the game though. Obviously, we had a disappointing result the other night which puts added pressure on this game.” 

Against Cape Town City, Hunt started the same line-up which did duty in the preceding match against Baroka FC which ended 1-1. 

Despite failing to win in their last two games, the Amakhosi tactician does not intend to tamper much with his squad. 

 “We can’t really juggle players much – we’ve got a good core of players,” continued Hunt. 

“Everyone has to have a little more belief. Upfront we have four attackers so there’s not much we can juggle around with. 

“We have given ourselves a mountain to climb in the last game by going a goal down. And in other games we have been a goal up and let it slip. We need to get better over 90 minutes.” 

The reverse fixture between the Gauteng giants saw Sundowns winning 3-0 at FNB Stadium with Themba Zwane, Peter Shalulile and Kermit Erasmus on target for the visitors.

That was the first time this season the Chiefs defence was brutally exposed, a department Hunt has often expressed his worry about.

“No doubt, we need to defend better and take our chances. My old adage is defences win leagues and strikers win games. We have not defended properly this year,” Hunt added.

“We work on fixing our defensive chinks all the time. We just have to keep riding away, improve our concentration and keep working on the training ground to ensure the whole team is prepared.”

Concerns in defence have seen Hunt tinkering with his back-five regularly, where he has converted Ramahlwe Mphahlele into a centre-back, a position Anthony Akumu now also plays in after being signed as a defensive midfielder.

At one time Daniel Cardoso was also moved from central defence into a defensive link-man but has since returned to the heart of the defence, while goalkeepers Itumeleng Khune and Daniel Akpeyi have both been inconsistent.