New Wits owners 'can't afford' to retain Gavin Hunt as head coach
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DURBAN - Decorated football coach Gavin Hunt will be jobless at the end of the season due to the controversial club franchise system that South African soccer uses.
Hunt turned Bidvest Wits from perennial losers into champions during his tenure, but the new owners have indicated that they are unlikely to match what he currently takes home as his salary.
After the completion of the 2019/20 season, Wits will be history in South African football as the franchise will be taken over by First Division outfit Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) owners. The new Limpopo-based owners confirmed that they had bought the status of the Clever Boys who were in line to celebrate 100 years of existence next year.
TTM chairman, Masala Mulaudzi, confirmed in an interview with IOL Sport that they would not be retaining Hunt’s services when they took over at Wits next season.
“Yes, I can confirm that we are looking for a coach. We won’t take Gavin Hunt for obvious reasons. He is one of the senior coaches - not only in the country but on the continent. We won’t be able to take him. We can’t afford him,” Mulaudzi said.
Hunt joined Wits from SuperSport United in 2013 and delivered the first league triumph for the Clever Boys and lifted the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout crowns.
Under Hunt’s guidance Wits developed a number of national team players, including Thulani Hlatshwayo, who is the captain of Bafana Bafana, Sifiso Hlanti, Buhle Mkhwanazi and Ricardo Goss.
Bidvest Wits goalkeeper Ricardo Goss may be on his way to Mamelodi Sundowns. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Before joining Wits, the 55-year-old enjoyed success with SuperSport and Moroka Swallows.
Masala has submitted his application to the National Soccer League for approval of the sale of Wits. The matter is now in the hands of the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
“Wits is a big club. They are comparable to the top four clubs in the country.
“When we looked at their expenditure we realised that it is way, way out of our budget. We feel that we should minimise our expenses. We haven’t engaged with Bidvest Wits players because we don’t want to tamper too much with the current status of the team," Mulaudzi said.
As things stand, we bought Bidvest Wits and all the players. Wits (management) have been so helpful and they have offered us advice. We have to do things right with regards to the administration."
Top players like Hlatshwayo, Deon Hotto, Hashim Domingo, Hlanti, Thabang Monare, Gift Motupa, Goos and Mkhwanazi are all set to leave Wits and take offers from other big clubs. Goos has agreed terms with Mamelodi Sundowns. He is now waiting to sign the contract.