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Hunt: If I don’t change, I am dead

Gavin Hunt has been coaching in South African football for over two decades, the 54-year-old has won leagues and cups while seeing many players and coaches come and go.

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt. Picture: @BidvestWits/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt is known as a frank, no-nonsense coach. However, after picking up three points in his native Cape Town, the veteran coach touched on the necessity to evolve.

“I'm old school, but I've got to change and if I don’t change, I am dead and the game will leave me behind. It’s happened to a lot of guys. You have to upgrade your skills.”

Hunt has been coaching in South African football for over two decades and the 54-year-old has won league titles and cup competitions while seeing many players and coaches come and go.

He says that the generational gap is very evident in today’s crop of players and they are wired differently to those he played with and first coached.

“I have to change, I have to listen and accept people talking on Twitter. I don’t understand this (social) media thing but I have to change and go with the times. They (players) are with the modern times, cellphones etc. When I dated a girl I had to phone the house, phone and ask the father to speak to the daughter, nowadays, they're texting at 12 o’clock at night.

“As a coach, as time goes on you have got to change, because they (players) are not going to change.

“In my day we drank... we drank for South Africa, my friend. Pre-match meals, we use to have tea, toast and pie on the way to the game.

“The people today are soft, the youth of today are soft they are not as hard as we were, they're brought up differently.”

Hunt says the training methods implemented when he was a right back for Hellenic would not work in the current climate and with the current group of professional footballers.

“The old adage of when you lose a game, you run Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. They [the players] are not going to respond to that like I responded. Those days are gone, so I need to change.

“We're going to all this technology now, tactical analysis and graphs and diagrams so I have to go with the times.

“There is more coaching now. In my day, there was less coaching. The coaches we had, hammered us. It’s like a baby... If you tell a baby, he is not going to do it, so you have to show the baby.”

When pressed on what area he has developed the most, Hunt said he has learned to accept players' mistakes.

“I have got more patience with the players. I never had patience. The youth of today are totally different. We were tough, tough in terms of mental abuse. We took the abuse... These players would crumble.”

Hunt acknowledged the need for contemporary coaches who are intent on upskilling themselves. He named two South African coaches in Benni McCarthy and Fadlu Davids and said that the nation needs more like them.

While Hunt continues to evolve, he is adamant the principles of the game will always remain.

"Never lose sight. The game doesn’t change too much."

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