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DStv Premiership

Lentjies Opens Up On Replacing Hunt at Chippa

Chippa United interim coach Kurt Lentjies has opened up on his shock retirement to succeed the suspended Gavin Hunt at the DStv Premiership side.

Chippa announced on Monday that Hunt had been suspended due to their poor string of results as they went nine games without a win in the top-flight.

In what was described as their worst-ever start to a season, the Chilli Boys surprisingly announced the 35-year-old midfielder had hung up his boots to take over the hotseat.

While his coaching credentials have come under the spotlight this week, Lentjies opened up on the swift ascent to the head coach role, which happened in the space of two days.

“It’s something you never prepared for, especially now that it happened so quick. There was a lot of thinking that needed to be done, I had to pray about it and consult my family,” he said ahead their clash against Baroka.

“I’m here for Chippa United, I mean I’ve been here for the past five years, so I told myself to let it continue. Obviously, as a player, you need to get these licenses in drips and drabs, so I did my CAF D and C while I was playing, I wanted to educate myself a bit more when it comes to qualifications – but barring that no [I don’t have more]. 

On deciding to officially end his professional career that began in 2002 at FC Fortune, he revealed it’s been something on his mind for several years and the opportunity to lead the squad was something he couldn’t refuse.

“I decided at the age of 29, I wanted to go into coaching. I felt that it suited me, my personality, I wanted to be a coach. From the experience, I worked with numerous of coaches, it’s been six years since I was 29, so obviously a lot of learning under them. I asked many questions, wanting to know certain things,” Lentjies explained.

“It sat well with certain coaches and not well with certain coaches because obviously, I was still playing. And here this guy is asking so many questions. It was a learning curve for me but qualifications I just have my CAF C and looking to educate myself further down the line.”

“I looked at it as a big opportunity, it happened in the space of 48 hours and then I had to do a lot of thinking, but I just told myself it’s an opportunity that many coaches out there wish for, lots of players coming towards the ends of their careers wish for. I was never prepared for anything like this but the door opened at the right time. I’m just looking to walk through that door and give the best that I can give.”

He added: “It came so quick, that was the only thing. The chairman contacted me and it was something I had to sleep over, but I told myself God opened this door for me so who am I to shut the door or say no. So the retirement part was one thing, where I thought should I, should I not?

“I wouldn’t take this task if I didn’t see the quality in the group and the players we have, so that assisted me with my decision.”

For Lentjies’s first game in charge the faces Bakgaga on Saturday afternoon at the Peter Mokaba Stadium (17h00).

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