After Kaizer Chiefs’ third defeat of the season on Sunday against Orlando Pirates, Gavin Hunt has four clear problem positions in this squad.
Amakhosi have played just six matches since the fourth-time league winner took over at the Naturena-based club. In those games, he has had selection problems in four positions as he strives to find a winning formula in his squad without any new signings being possible.
Kaizer Chiefs’ transfer ban meant that Phathutshedzo Nange, Brandon Petersen and Sifiso Hlanti could not be signed despite training with Chiefs over recent weeks.
The four problem positions are as follows:
Right back: 4 players used
In just six games this season, Gavin Hunt has used four different players at right back. Reeve Frosler has been selected to start four times but went off with a knee injury on Sunday and could face a period out once the severity of that problem is determined. Rama Mphahelele started once at right back as the side shipped three goals to Pirates in the MTN8 semi-final first leg, with Kgotso Moleko gave away a penalty in his start against TS Galaxy.
In addition to that, Njabulo Blom played 61 minutes at right back this past weekend after Frosler went off injured. Hunt has to find a reliable solution in this position to prevent constant chopping and changing.
View images of Chiefs' thrashing here:
Left back: 2 players used so far
This was clearly a position where the coach wanted to strengthen, hence the pursuit of Hlanti. Hunt has alternated between Yagan Sasman and Philani Zulu but neither has convinced and has made errors party leading to goals. This is expected to continue to be an area of concern. The coach could call upon Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya or Happy Mashiane in coming weeks to try to find a solution until July when Hlanti can be brought in.
Defensive Midfielder: 5 players used
In the two positions shielding the back four, Hunt has constantly tried different options to fix what was another area he hoped to strengthen, hence the move for Phathutshedzo Nange. Willard Katsande has played only 20% of the minutes this season and didn’t even get onto the pitch in either MTN8 semi-final match. Njabulo Blom has impressed and been praised by his coach, but both Anthony Agay and Kearyn Baccus have been inconsistent and have started two of the six matches each.
This weekend saw Siphelele Ntshangase play in that deeper midfield role after Blom was moved to right back. Hunt does not have many solutions to this problem unless he tries Frosler or Lebogang Manyama in deeper midfield roles as Ernst Middendorp did last season.
Wingers: 7 players used
Without natural wide men to call upon, Hunt has used Manyama, Bernard Parker, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, Happy Mashiane and Khama Billiat on the flanks and even Baccus played some minutes there. None of those players is naturally a winger but because Hunt likes to play with width, he has to make do with the options that he has in his squad right now.
The coach has also handed 21-year-old Lebogang Lesako three outings from the bench on the right wing but unless Dumisani Zuma can come back and help solve this issue, it could be something that hampers Gavin Hunt all season.
Who would you select at right back, left back, defensive midfielder and as wingers? Let us know by commenting below!