June 14, 2021

Kaizer Chiefs coach Hunt explains Mphahlele switch

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The ex-Mamelodi Sundowns captain saw little game time under Ernst Middendorp but the new coach has plans for him

Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt says he plans to permanently convert right-back Ramahlwe Mphahlele into a central defender because the 30-year-old can no longer effectively rove up and down the flanks due to his age.

Mphahlele lasted the entire match on Sunday as a centre-back during Chiefs’ 2-1 victory over Maritzburg United in an MTN8 quarter-final.

It was a rare start for Mphahlele who had lost his place to Reeve Frosler last season under former coach Ernest Middendorp.

But Hunt appears to have big plans for the former-Mamelodi Sundowns captain.

“I think Ramahlwe Mphahlele will play centre-back most of the time,” Hunt told the Kaizer Chiefs website.

“At his age, I don’t see him going up and down as much on the flanks as he used to.

“We also did not have much in centre with Mulomowandau Mathoho injured. We had Siyabonga Ngezana, who came in the second half. I had a chat with ‘Rama’ and worked with him throughout the week. If nothing happens that will be more of a long-term plan.”

Mphahlele will, however, have to contend for a starting place at the heart of defence against Daniel Cardoso, Mathoho and Ngezana.

Hunt was appointed Chiefs coach In September and the former Bidvest Wits tactician says Amakhosi are still work in progress.

He has demanded some “muscle memory” and “game intelligence” from his charges as they bid for a first piece of major silverware since winning the Premier Soccer League (PSL) title in 2015.

“It is going to take a little bit of time,” said Hunt.

“I don’t like to talk too much, I want to get on the training ground and prepare for the next match. We will work more on the training ground to get some muscle memory.

“There are certain things I saw that we must do better. The most important is the mentality and the game intelligence, that comes from the training ground with practice.”

After edging out Maritzburg on Sunday, Chiefs begin their PSL campaign against Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday.