SuperSport United coach Gavin Hunt has explained the reasons behind the decision to play Thamsanqa Gabuza as a centre-back in the club’s shock 2-1 defeat to third-tier league side Dondol Stars in the Nedbank Cup.

The Gauteng ABC Motsepe League outfit did the unthinkable, and so did Hunt, who surprisingly partnered Gabuza with the inexperienced Bilal Baloyi in the central defensive role.

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Dondol came from a goal down to stun Matsatsantsa, thanks to strikes by Relenogile Molefe and captain Kholofelo Monama to march on to the last 16 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday. SuperSport United had taken the lead through Siyabonga Nhlapo.

Despite the defeat, Gabuza, who was expected to start in his usual forward position, put in a defence showing in defence.

Dejected, Hunt said he had no choice but to field Gabuza at centre-back as his regulars are out with injuries.

“We gave people a chance tonight, and obviously, we had players under different circumstances, so we had [play Gabuza in defence],” said Hunt to FarPost

“We’ve got a long season still, so it’s important and we had players out there who should have been good enough to win the game, so you know he’s [Gabuza] given a chance.

“We’ve got Tyson [Thulani Hlatshwayo], Luke [Fluers], but I don’t want to go there. There are no excuses, as we should have been good enough to win the game. We had enough opportunities but didn’t take them,” added Hunt.

The SuperSpot coach had rested some of his best players, such as Grant Margeman, Siphesihle Ndlovu, Bradley Grobler, Keenan Johannes, Thatayaone Ditlhokwe and captain Onismor Bhasera for the Dondol Stars game.

That decision backfired as his troops became the first big casualty of the 2023 Nedbank Cup, which is synonymous with minnows stunning PSL teams.

The four-time DStv Premiership winner, Hunt, also stated that the Gabuza playing in defence was a temporary solution for the night since he had a thin squad at his disposal.

However, Hunt admitted that he wouldn’t think twice about playing Gabuza as a makeshift defender if there are no centre-backs available to select in the near future.

“You’ve got to try and play the situation, and we did the right thing,” said Hunt.

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“We will do it again; I would do exactly the same thing again as we have to look after the team, for the longevity of the team, for the future.

“Players were given a chance, and so you know, obviously, I must take the rap, but I mean you’ve got to you’ve got to believe that players are good enough to do the job.”


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