In what came as a shock to many, Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt brought an abrupt halt to an impressive run by the club’s talismanic defender Daniel Cardoso on Saturday.
Cardoso has endured quite a few changes since Hunt took charge of Chiefs in September 2020. For one, the defender has been deployed to an unfamiliar central midfield role by Hunt, who has preferred the partnership between Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Athony Agay in central defence.
In addition, Hunt has stripped Cardoso from his penalty taking duties, a role he has carried out with distinction for the last two seasons.
But perhaps the biggest change for the 32-year-old came on Saturday against SuperSport United, where for the first time in 46 matches, Cardoso was not named in the Chiefs starting XI in a league encounter!
This brought an end to Cardoso’s impressive run of starting every consecutive league match in the last season and a half.
What makes this streak even more impressive is the fact that the former Free State Stars man is not one to pull out of any tackles, yet somehow, he has incredibly managed to avoid suspension or injury.
Of course, Cardoso did feature for Chiefs in Saturday’s one-all draw, when he came on for the injured Willard Katsande in the 64th minute.
Despite the shock decision by Hunt, Cardoso remains the player to have featured most prominently in a Chiefs side that has undergone quite a number of changes this season as they look to establish some sort of rhythm.
In total, Cardoso has played 1393 league minutes this season, followed by Philani Zulu 1170 minutes and Siyabonga Ngezana 1162 minutes. Youngsters Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, 1147, and Njabulo Blom, 967, are the other Chiefs players who have played the most minutes under Hunt this campaign.