Gavin Hunt: I’m so proud of the players


His players hoisted him into the air as they rejoiced after making history, with Bidvest Wits claiming their first ever league title in their 96-year existence.

But an emotional coach Gavin Hunt praised his heady cocktail of speedy youngsters, hardened veterans and true champions such as Daine Klate following a 2-0 victory over Polokwane City on Wednesday night put the Clever Boys out of reach of Mamelodi Sundowns, who drew 2-2 with Maritzburg United.

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Gavin Hunt has won his fourth league title as a coach. Photo: Gavin Barker, BackpagePixWits players savour the special moment on Wednesday night. Photo: Gavin Barker, BackpagePixDaine Klate is congratulated by his Wits teammates after scoring a screamer. Photo: Gavin Barker, BackpagePixGavin Hunt hugs midfielder Granwald Scott, who has finally won the league after a few close calls with Ajax Cape Town previously. Photo: Gavin Barker, BackpagePix

“We’ve done well away as well, but it’s a culmination of hard work. It wasn’t easy… Yoh! Can’t really talk much!” Hunt, wiping tears away from his eyes, told SuperSport in a post-match interview.

“When I first came here, I looked at this squad and I said that I didn’t think the team was good enough. And I’ve been here for four years now – third, third, second and now champions!

“So, it’s taken a long time to try and overhaul the team, change everything – change the mentality, how we want to do it, how we want to play. It takes time, and for a club like Bidvest Wits to win the league is unbelievable.

“I had so many players who phoned me this morning, guys who are legends of the club. It’s a great achievement.”

Not only did Wits rewrite the record books, but Hunt also enjoyed an extra special night as he became the third coach to guide a club to four league titles – alongside Gordon Igesund and the late Ted Dumitru.

Former Hellenic right back Hunt took SuperSport United to an incredible three consecutive league crowns from 2008 to 2010.

And the history-making didn’t end there, as the remarkable Klate – still just 32 – clinched his sixth league title.

Striker Eleazar Rodgers (centre) leads the celebration with his Wits teammates. Photo: Gavin Barker, BackpagePix

The left winger, who finished things off in style at Bidvest Stadium with a left-footed rocket on the hour mark, won three championships with SuperSport United and two with Orlando Pirates before Wednesday night’s gold medal No 6.

In typical fashion, Hunt didn’t want to draw too much attention to his achievement as he just shrugged his shoulders.

Ja, we’ve got to push on and try and do better on all fronts. But it has given us a great platform. We’ve won two trophies this season, and I’m so proud of the players,” the 52-year-old said.

“We haven’t had a team as we’ve been decimated by injuries every week, serious injuries, and the players dug in and it’s fantastic!”

But Hunt had time to mention Pitso Mosimane’s Sundowns for their contribution to a thrilling title race.

“Tough luck on Sundowns. It’s been a tough race and we wish them well. They are the African champions and that is our inspiration, where we want to get to.”

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