MIXED FEELINGS

Mixed reactions as Hunt hands Akumu new role at Kaizer Chiefs

Zico Otieno said it wasn't the first time Akumu was turning out as a defender.

In Summary

•The player, who has earned 40 senior national team caps as a midfielder may have been outstanding when he featured as a centre-back in their 2-1 win over Cape Town City over the weekend, but Hunt's decision to switch him to defence attracted the wrath of local fans who still have a lot of faith in him as a defensive midfielder.

•Harambee Stars head coach Jacob 'Ghost' Mulee has defended Hunt saying that he must have had a valid reason to arrive at that decision.

Teddy Akumu (R) and Joash Onyango in contest in a past training.
Teddy Akumu (R) and Joash Onyango in contest in a past training.
Image: FILE

Three local tacticians have sprung to the defence of Kaizer Chiefs' head coach Gavin Hunt who converted Kenya international midfielder Anthony Akumu into a centre-back during a league match over the weekend.

Akumu has struggled to settle into a midfield role since arriving from Zambian top tier side ZESCO United in January 2020 and Hunt is persuaded that the decision to field him as a centre-back will undoubtedly revamp his career.

"He's not a midfielder, he's not a midfield player, no chance. I don't know what he was signed as but he's not a midfield player. He has played the last three, four games because obviously, we've got injury problems.

"He's done well, I thought he was excellent against City and long may it continue," said Hunt.

The player, who has earned 40 senior national team caps as a midfielder may have been outstanding when he featured as a centre-back in their 2-1 win over Cape Town City, but Hunt's decision to switch him to defence attracted the wrath of local fans who still have a lot of faith in him as a midfielder.

Interestingly, Harambee Stars' head coach Jacob 'Ghost' Mulee has defended Hunt saying  he must have had a valid reason to arrive at such a decision.

"He is the coach and obviously, he saw something special in him that might have led him to make that decision. Akumu is a good player and I believe he will perform well in his new role," said Mulee.

KCB coach Zedekiah 'Zico' Otieno hailed Akumu as an exceptional player who has the capacity to rise up to the challenge. Zico added that it wasn't the first time Akumu was turning out as a defender.

"I remember playing him as a centre-back at Gor Mahia when I was still their coach and I can't recall a day he ever disappointed. He would comfortably fit in the shoes of injured defenders.

"Further, he has previously turned out for Zesco United in that capacity," said Zico. Posta Rangers coach agrees with Zico pointing out that Akumu can comfortably fit in any role on the pitch. "Akumu is a utility player who can occupy any given position in the field of play," said Pamzo.

Pamzo also doesn't believe it is too late in the day for the 28-year-old midfielder to change roles on the pitch.

"Liberia's president George Weah transitioned from a striker to a stopper towards the twilight of his career," says Pamzo.

Pamzo like Ghost also believes some factors might have pushed Hunt towards that decision. "The coach may have spotted something special in him or perhaps he was reacting to injuries," he concludes.