Gavin Hunt declares BidVest Wits' title defence over
Gavin Hunt has written off Bidvest Wits’ defending title challenge in the Absa Premiership.
With Wits still rooted in an astonishing last place a match before their halfway stage as they return from the Christmas break against Free State Stars at Bidvest Stadium on Friday night (kickoff: 8pm)‚ Hunt has officially thrown in the towel.
As staggering a fact as Wits’ being last is that‚ given the tight nature of the PSL this season‚ they are still only 13 points behind second-placed Cape Town City‚ and competitive Hunt will no doubt still be looking for a top three finish if his side rally in 2018.
But catching leaders Mamelodi Sundowns (28 points from 14 games)‚ who are 17 points ahead of the Clever Boys (11 from 14)‚ now is a near mission impossible‚ Hunt has admitted.
“I mean let’s be honest. For us to overhaul that (Sundowns’ lead)‚ I mean they would have to have a meltdown‚” Wits’ coach said this week.
“We can’t be worrying about the end line. We need to worry about each game.
“We’re in our situation. Just take it from there and position ourselves.
“People thought it was difficult trying to win the league – this is a harder job.”
The halfway stage‚ after players have been sent away for a short Christmas break‚ presents an opportunity for a regroup‚ and Hunt did hold a short team meeting with his players this week‚ which the coach played down as “nothing major”.
He added: “You can say all you can say – ‘Don’t worry‚ we’ll get out of it’‚ and all that. But at the end of the day‚ when the whistle blows at the end‚ that’s the most important time in all the doing.
“We’ve just got to get back our DNA. What we are good at.
“Because I’ve said in the media‚ and people have laughed at me‚ that I think this season we’ve played better than last year. And last year we won the league and this year we’re bottom.
“And people say‚ ‘What are you talking about?’ But‚ if you understand football‚ you’ll see what I’m saying‚ and I can prove it.
“So we need to get back our DNA‚ which made us good over the last four years – third‚ third and second‚ and then first. Three trophies.
“Sold players for loads. Haven’t bought any players. What more do you want?”
Stars had a notably superior first half of the season to Wits‚ rallying from the early firing of Sammy Troughton to be in fifth place by the break under the impressive Luc Eymael‚ with 22 points from six wins and four draws in 15 matches.
Bidvest Wits vs Free State Stars (Bidvest Stadium‚ 8pm)
Ajax Cape Town vs Maritzburg United (Cape Town Stadium‚ 8pm)
Polokwane City vs Mamelodi Sundowns (Peter Mokaba Stadium‚ 3.30pm)
SuperSport United vs Kaizer Chiefs (Mbombela Stadium‚ 6pm)
Orlando Pirates vs Baroka FC (Orlando Stadium‚ 8.15pm)
Platinum Stars vs Cape Town City (Royal Bafokeng Stadium‚ 8.15pm)
AmaZulu vs Chippa United (King Zwelithini Stadium‚ 3.30pm)
Bloemfontein Celtic vs Lamontville Golden Arrows (Dr Molemela Stadium‚ 3.30pm)
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.