Elimination from South Africa’s premier knockout competition compounded Amakhosi’s already difficult season under the current coach
Kaizer Chiefs legend Tinashe Nengomasha believes it is too early to start making conclusions about coach Gavin Hunt following the Nedbank Cup exit because he is unable to beef up his squad.
Chiefs were knocked out of the Nedbank Cup by GladAfrica Championship side Richards Bay after a 2-1 defeat at home last Sunday.
It was a fourth straight game for Chiefs without tasting victory that overshadowed a recent five-match league unbeaten run, which hinted at a turnaround of fortunes after at one time being just point better off than basement side Black Leopards.
But with Hunt inheriting Ernst Middendorp’s squad and being unable to sign players due to a Fifa transfer ban, Nengomasha has called for patience with the coach.
“You can’t fire Hunt now because he’s using players he found there. We must start to judge him from next season. The bosses must be patient with him,” Nengomasha told Sowetan Live.
The Nedbank Cup elimination has not only highlighted Chiefs’ struggles under Hunt, but underlined their grim history of being frustrated by lower division sides in this tournament.
In 2009, they were knocked out of the Nedbank Cup by then National First Division side Pretoria University following a 4-3 defeat in the second round.
The following season, they went out at the first round stage after falling 2-0 to another second tier side FC Cape Town.
Similar disappointment struck again for a third successive season when then-third tier outfit Baroka FC knocked them out in the quarter-finals.
Another humiliation then came when they lost in the 2019 final 1-0 to TS Galaxy, who were still a second-tier side, before the latest fall to Richards Bay.
Nengomasha was still a Chiefs player during the three consecutive Nedbank Cup failures but does not agree with the notion that Amakhosi are cursed in this tournament.
“Curse? No, no. I think Chiefs lose these games [against teams from lower leagues] because they underestimate those teams, whereas those teams come with that extra motivation and eagerness to show the world that in football name counts for nothing,” continued Nengomasha.
“I remember when we were going to face Baroka…we were sure that we will win. Our mentality was poor at the time, we just told ourselves that it was going to be easy.”
Hunt now shifts focus to the Caf Champions League although their trip to Morocco to face Wydad Casablanca is in doubt due to complications in securing visas.