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Hunt keeps his wits about run-in

PSL
JOHANNESBURG - It is game-week one in the Absa Premiership and Gavin Hunt talks about boxing clever. The following week, the Bidvest Wits coach compares his selection process to picking horses for courses. And in the final rounds of the campaign, the three-time league winner again argues it’s all about points and being smart.

You get the idea, Hunt is no novice.

Although his statements over the progression of the season have at times contradicted his earlier comments, like when he said he has the best squad assembled by Wits in the time he’s been there, to backtracking and claiming the Clever Boys don’t have any depth, the coach has pretty much often stuck to his guns.

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Gavin Hunt, coach of Bidvest Wits. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

On Thursday, Wits took another giant leap towards the championship when they beat Orlando Pirates at Bidvest Stadium to go three points clear at the summit.

What’s Hunt’s thought process for the remaining four fixtures - Maritzburg United at home tomorrow, bogey side Free State Stars at Goble Park, where he’s never won since arriving at Wits, then Polokwane City at home ahead of the most difficult encounter, on paper at least, away to Kaizer Chiefs?

“The next game is the one I’m most worried about,” said Hunt when asked which of the remaining matches he will be losing sleep over.

He’s right. In as much as Wits are top of the table, you can’t help but think they are not sitting pretty because the Clever Boys have not necessarily been the most consistent side in the top-flight this season.

A defeat against Maritzburg in their own backyard is not out of the equation, even though victory over Pirates was their eighth in nine matches at home in 2017 - a record that will have you nodding with appreciation.

“You tap into past experience by doing the right things. You won’t always get it right, somewhere you will get it wrong,” Hunt said as he discussed his decision-making in the final weeks of the title race.

They will be vital in the month of May, like when he followed his instincts at half-time against Pirates to bring on striker Cuthbert Malajila for winger Sifiso Myeni, and it was the forward who got the winning goal just 11 minutes after coming on.

“People are in cuckoo land about football sometimes, but there are no secrets anymore; you are able to watch every game and analyse.

“You are not going to see prettiness, but hard work and determination, and hopefully a good attitude.

“I hope to get it more ‘right than wrong’.

“It’s about seeing who you can trust and who you can rely on, what sort of shape you need to play because they change based on the personnel you’ve got.

“I do what I have to do.”

His wits are going to be tested even further with confirmation that key defender and vice-captain Buhle Mkhwanazi has been ruled out of action for at least six months after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament on Monday.

This left Hunt with the experienced Bongani Khumalo as cover, but no proper back-up if any of his two remaining centre-backs get injured.

But he’s done this before - three times - and can probably do it again.

Saturday Star

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