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Wits duo delight Hunt

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa | 2017-02-09 09:36:36.0

BIDVEST Wits coach Gavin Hunt says forwards Phakamani Mahlambi and James Keene will be crucial in the fight for the league title.

Hunt reckons that one of the main reasons they lost the race last season to Mamelodi Sundowns was because they lost Mahlambi and Keene to injuries.

Keene signed for Wits in January last year and scored eight goals from 12 starts in all competitions before a knee injury struck, barring him from action from March.

Mahlambi also suffered a bad knee injury a year ago and, like Keene, didn't play towards the end of the last campaign.

Mahlambi, 19, has scored three goals in three games since his return from a 10-month layoff. Keene was also on target in Wits' 5-0 rout of Ajax Cape Town on Tuesday.

"We've got James back and, for me, he should have been man of the match [against Ajax, instead of Mahlambi]. James was outstanding and he epitomises what we are all about. We missed him, so he's important for us," said Hunt.

"It was something we had last year when we were running for the league and they both got injured with about 10 games to go. We lost both of them and I knew there was no chance for us [to win the league].

"The one [Mahlambi] doesn't work but uses his pace well and the other [Keene] works his socks off, so it is a great combination," Hunt said.

Ajax mentor Stanley Menzo was left shocked by the way Wits beat them, but agreed that the Clever Boys are indeed championship material.

"Well, it was the first time I saw them [live]," said the former Ajax Amsterdam goalkeeper.

"I have seen them on videos and they have a good squad. They don't only have a good first XI, but also their bench is strong. That is important."

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