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Pressure no bother for Hunt

PSL
JOHANNESBURG - Gavin Hunt has admitted he might have to rotate some of the players in his squad, as his side aspires to challenge for every title they are still in contention for this season.

As it stands, Bidvest Wits are still in the running to challenge for honours in the Nedbank Cup, the Absa Premiership as well as the Caf Confederation Cup, where they were demoted to, after losing to Al Ahly in the final qualifying round of the Caf Champions League two weeks ago.

They lost 1-0 to the Egyptian giants over two legs.

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The Clever Boys' coach, who reckons his side will cope with the pressure of having to play more official matches in their congested fixture list for the next nine weeks, stated that he preferred playing more games than having long breaks in between like they did with this previous Fifa break.

“We gave a grinding performance against Platinum Stars (on Saturday) and I’m happy with the result,” Hunt, pictured, said after their 2-0 win over Dikwena. 

“You look all over around the world and you see teams struggling after having had their players gone (on international duty). It tempers with the rhythm of the team. However, I’m happy with the result we got (having come from an international week).

“We’ll be playing every three days now for the next nine weeks,” Hunt added. “The truth is I prefer it that way. I don’t want us to rest. We want to go out there, put our heads down, and work for every result. 

"We tried against Al Ahly and we lost 1-0 over both legs against a team of their stature. That defeat was not a disgrace for us. We had chances against them, especially in the second leg, but we didn’t get to score. And now we go for another (continental) cup competition.”

Wits will lock horns with Jomo Cosmos on Tuesday at Tsakane Stadium in their last 16 fixture of the Nedbank Cup (Kick-off 7.30pm), before they host Egyptian side Smouha SC in the first leg of the Confederation Cup play-off round this Friday.

Hunt said he was expecting a gruelling encounter against Cosmos, adding that the condition of the pitch might also serve as a test for his side to do well in that game.

“The pitch is going to be the greatest leveller, is it not?” Hunt asked a rhetorical question. “It’s always an interesting fight whenever we play against Cosmos. I haven’t played against Jomo in a very long time but we’ve got to pick a team that will go out there and do the job for us.

“The only problem is that we’ve got players who are sitting in the stands and have not been playing. We’ve got the likes of (James) Keene, Xola Mlambo, Nazeer Allie and (Elias) Pelembe who’s not back (from international duty as yet). We are going to need them (as this season progresses to deal with the pressure of doing well in all competitions).”

Hunt added that some of his players, such as Phumlani Ntshangase, need to step it up a notch if they are to see themselves getting more game time this season.

“I told him that he’s got to up his game,” Hunt said. “He’s been out of the picture this season through injuries and we’ve got players like Granwald Scott and Mlambo whose arrival at the club has added more pressure (in that central midfield role). We built our team around him three years ago and now, he has now gone backwards and he’s well aware of that. He needs to get better. We can’t be a team that finishes second or third every season.”

The Star

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