Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Unpacking Gavin Hunt’s Tactics

Unpacking Gavin Hunt’s Tactics

Unpacking Gavin Hunt’s Tactics

The 55-year old is one of the most successful coaches in the domestic league having won four league titles and a couple of knockout trophies. Here’s an overview of his tactics…

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports 

We will start at the top end of the pitch where the tactician’s strength lies. It’s interesting to note that he is the one who brought Lungisani Ndlela, Henrico Botes and Mame Niang to the PSL during his time at Moroka Swallows which is a clear indication of the fact that he prefers tall strikers who can use their aerial ability to unsettle opponents!

To show that he believes in his philosophy, he has stuck by it over the years having worked with strikers like Glen Salmon, Nathan Paulse (SuperSport United) and Eleazar Rodgers (Bidvest Wits) who are also known for their aerial strength.

The type of forwards he prefers should tell you that he favours wingers who can deliver crosses into the box as opposed to inverted wingers who drift infield to create central overload. Now, let’s look at a few wingers he has coached over the years for different clubs – Daine Klate, Deon Hotto, Elias Pelembe, Edzai Kasinauyo, Tony Tsabedze, Keagan Ritchie (he converted him from left-back to left-winger die to his excellent delivery of the ball into the box), Cecil Oerson, Teboh to mention a few. All these players can deliver crosses for the tall strikers upfront.

Looking at fullbacks, he prefers a lopsided attack from them to keep it safe at the back! If one fullback is attack-minded the other one should be a proper defensive player to give the team balance. For example, in Wits’ title-winning season he has Sifiso Hlanti on the left who likes to overlap and deliver crosses while Nazeer Alli on the right side would stay with centre-backs.

In the central midfield positions Hunt needs grafters who can fulfill both defensive and offensive roles. He’s favoured dynamic midfielders like Cole Alexnder, Thabang Monare, Thandani Ntshumayelo, Hlompho Kekana, Brent Carelse etc. That helped him a lot to give the team balance when he played 4-4-2 especially at SuperSport and his recent 4-2-3-1 has two holding midfielders and a number 10 (creative midfielder) which was Daine Kalte in the title-winning season after he converted him to play a central role with Gabadinho Mhango operating as a left-winger. That role was later given to Steven Pienaar and now it would be fulfilled by Haashim Domingo or Gift Motupa.

In terms of the centre-backs it’s usually big guys who can deal with aerial balls and can also contribute with scoring goals in set-piece situations. We can mention the likes of Bongani Khumalo, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Morgan Gould and Ricardo Katza. He is not so fussy about playing out from the back and you can tell that he is of the idea that a defender’s primary duty is to stop opponents from scoring. He has worked with top goalkeepers in the past and none of them are known for their distribution skills. They just do that as one of the football basics but it’s not a key element of his tactical approach.

To sum it up, Hunt is the type of coach who opts for quick attacks instead of playing possession football. The players are expected to get the ball forward as quickly as possible to create goalscoring chances and to defend aggressively. He also doesn’t like the so-called dribblers especially when they’re going to be over elaborative on the ball. From a defensive point of view, the team has to maintain balance when committing numbers forward and often avoid 1v1 situations at the back.

Written by Benedict Ngwenya for Hollywoodbets 

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