Wits failure to use advantage frustrates coach Hunt

JOHANNESBURG – A visibly frustrated Gavin Hunt lamented the fact that his Bidvest Wits side only got a point against Mamelodi Sundowns who he argues are in control in the Absa Premiership race.

The Clever Boys played out a 1-1 draw with the Brazilians at Bidvest Stadium on Saturday despite being a man up for almost an hour after Wayne Arendse was sent off in the first half. Wits failed to capitalise on their advantage. They pinned Sundowns back for the most of the second half but didn’t take their chances even when goalkeeper Denis Onyango was replaced by Reyaad Pieterse in the last 15 minutes.

“I am very disappointed with the point, very disappointed,” Hunt said. “You can always say that we should have capitalised with the one-man advantage but they sat there. They didn’t go anywhere.

“So you have to go through, around, over, in and out – anyway you can. We didn’t do it properly. Our final ball wasn’t good enough. But we still should have won the game. We had more than enough changes, even when it was 11 v 11. It is what is. We keep soldiering on. We’ve got to be proud of what we got, competing against a team like that.”

Hunt’s disappointment is fuelled by the fact that Sundowns are two points behind Wits and have two games in hand. A positive result in those two games could see Sundowns overtake the Clever Boys at the summit of the league.

“They’re in the pound seat,” Hunt said.

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Denis Onyango of Sundowns saves an attempt at goal from Gift Motupa of Bidvest Wits on Saturday. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Wits’ final stretch includes games against Cape Town City, SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates who are among the title chasing pack. They also have to negotiate past Chippa United, Baroka FC and Black Leopards who are among those starring at the barrel of relegation. They can’t afford any slip-ups with the Citizens and the Buccaneers on the resurgence while the Brazilians have those games in hand.

Hunt will take on his former pupil on Saturday at Bidvest Stadium. Benni McCarthy, who was given his professional debut by Hunt at Seven Stars, enjoys these outings. He has come to Milpark and spoiled the party a number of times in his short career as a coach. 

But what will make this encounter even more enthralling and important in the league race is that it will come just after the Citizens have visited the Brazilians at Loftus Versfeld on Wednesday. 

The top teams will cancel each other a number of times before the 2018/19 champions are crowned in May. Hunt and Sundowns’ coach Pitso Mosimane have an advantage over the other coaches in the chasing pack because the two have won the league several times while McCarthy, Pirates’ Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic and SuperSport United’s Kaitano Tembo are searching for their maiden league titles in South Africa.

“It doesn’t make it easier,” Hunt said. “It makes it harder for us because of our situation. But stranger things have happened in this football. We aren’t looking at who is behind us, we look forward. 

We’ve been looking forward the whole season. We just keep going.”

Football Reporter

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