Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt says it’s a pity that his first Soweto derby in charge will be without supporters.
Chiefs take on nemesis Orlando Pirates in the first leg of the MTN8 semifinal at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
It will be Hunt’s maiden derby since taking over from Ernst Middendorp in the off season. Fans are still not allowed at stadiums under the Covid-19 coronavirus restrictions.
“I like a full stadium. I certainly feel it can take you over the line, especially if you have more fans on your side than against you,” Hunt said.
“In my career I have been used to having more fans against us. But that time to experience it with fans will come.”
The 56-year-old has not had the great start to his Chiefs tenure, with no fans and a Fifa player transfer ban imposed on his club.
Chiefs will not be able to register new players for two consecutive transfer windows after they were found guilty of illegally signing Madagascan international midfielder Andriamirado “Dax” Andrianarimanana in 2018.
In contrast, Pirates have gone on a shopping spree, having signing us most of the top players from the now-defunct Bidvest Wits.
Hunt feels that, with their quality squad, the Buccaneers will be favourites to win the league title this season.
“I think they will be big favourites for the league title. They have really beefed up their squad. They have a lot of payers I know and have worked with. What they do is not for me to say but they are good and much stronger than they were last season,” said the former Wits coach, who registered his first DStv Premiership win after two outings, a 1-0 triumph over Chippa United in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.
Chiefs were hammered 3-0 by Mamelodi Sundowns in their opening league fixture last weekend.
However, the MTN8 offers Hunt the opportunity to end Chiefs’ five-year silverware drought. Amakhosi edged Maritzburg United 2-1 in the quarterfinals.
“It’s a great opportunity the get into a cup final which gives good momentum for the season. For me it’s about trying to find out more about the players and find a style of play that suits our players. I can’t come in here and bash the door down and take it one step at a time.”
Chiefs and Pirates will face off in the return leg next weekend.
MTN8 semifinals, 1st leg
Orlando Pirates vs Kaizer Chiefs (Orlando Stadium, 3pm)
SuperSport United vs Bloemfontein Celtic (Lucas Moripe, 3pm)