The accomplished tactician explained that he was trying to instil a mentality into the team with the Gauteng Derby clash with Masandawana looming
Yagan Sasman, 24, was the hero for Amakhosi as his brace inspired the team to a 2-1 win over the Team of Choice in a quarter-final encounter at FNB Stadium
Reeve Frosler, 22, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, 20, Njabulo Blom, 20, and Happy Mashiane, 22, were all in action as Hunt started his Chiefs tenure with a victory.
“I thought the kids did well again. I thought the goal boy [Sasman] – he’s a player for me. He can play. Blom came in, changed the game. He’s another one, a youngster. Happy – came in on the left,” Hunt told SuperSport TV.
“These are the ones for the future. I’ve got a few more here. I’ll keep blooding them and keep playing them. But we can’t play them just for the sake of playing them. We’ve got to play them for the right reasons. It’ll take hopefully not too much time.”
The former Bidvest Wits coach also praised veteran forward Bernard Parker, who was a constant thorn in the flesh of Maritzburg defence throughout the lively encounter.
“I think first half we were still on the bus, we were all over the show. We have pulled apart. I’m trying to instil a couple of things, but it’s difficult in a week and a half. And then I made the changes which it was inevitable to do. We changed the shape a bit,” he continued.
“I thought a guy like Bernard Parker, he was unbelievable today. He was fantastic, playing out of position. But you know, we showed a bit of grit. But I’m trying to instil the mentality into the team. That’s the most important thing.
“First half, certainly not good. No one generally plays well in their first game of the season. We were a little bit rusty here and there. But the things we are trying to implement will take time and hopefully, this will give us some momentum going forward and we’ll try next week again. We’ll get a few players back.”
Meanwhile, Maritzburg head coach Eric Tinkler was left to rue his side’s missed chances with the Team of Choice having dominated the first half, but they scored only once.
“First half. We should have killed off the game to be brutally honest. We dominated completely. We should have been 2-3 nil up at half-time. We should have ended the game in the first half,” Tinkler told SuperSport TV.
“And because we didn’t, we got punished for it in the second. It was chalk and cheese – the performance of the first half versus the performance of the second half.
“What is the reason behind the drop in performance and the fact that we just looked completely lost in the second half? It simply doesn’t make any sense. And the only thing I can put my finger on is, have we got the heart? Have we got the winning mentality?”
Tinkler feels that Chiefs centre forward Leonardo Castro changed the complexion of the game as he was able to hold the ball up for his teammates.
“And number two, maybe it’s the fitness levels. Maybe the fitness levels in the second half weren’t where they need to be and we didn’t match them in terms of the intensity and that’s probably one of the reasons why we find ourselves playing on the back foot,” he continued.
“Yes, Castro came in, he made a big difference for them. They were playing the ball into his feet. We allowed the ball to go into his feet. But we didn’t respond to it. We didn’t press them as well as we did in the first half. The second-half, non-existent. We allowed them back in. Two set-pieces. We spoke about it for the whole week.”
The former Orlando Pirates coach was also disappointed by the way his side defended against set-pieces as Chiefs’ two goals came from corner-kicks.
“Every interview I do, I say the only place they can hurt you is from the set-piece and you go and concede two goals from the set-piece. So it’s about taking responsibility. Everybody must take responsibility. Because we threw away a great opportunity here to get into a semi-final,” he added.
“It’s very easy to point fingers at everyone. Even I must take responsibility. And we’ll go back and work on it during the week. And you hope that people learn from these mistakes. But these mistakes are very costly.
“And you practise it the whole week and it’s very easy to point fingers. But we have to take responsibility.”
Maritzburg have now turned their attention to their first league game of the 2020/21 season which is against Baroka FC on October 24.