JOHANNESBURG - Bidvest Wits’ coach and Coach of the Month award recipient for February, Gavin Hunt, credits going back to basics for the Clever Boys’ turnaround.
Wits went from league champions to battling to avoid relegation the following season, and were languishing at the bottom of the log in December.
They started the New Year with a loss to their hoodoo team Free State Stars and ended January with a 4-1 mauling from SuperSport United. But in between those games they collected seven points from a poterntial nine to lay the foundation for their good run in February, which saw them win against Cape Town City and Golden Arrows along with playing a draw with Kaizer Chiefs.
Those results helped Wits bag a double in the monthly Absa Premiership awards. Hunt took the Coach of the Month gong while striker Lehlohonolo Majoro scooped the Player of the Month award.
Kaizer Chiefs’ forward Leonardo Castro bagged the Goal of the Month for January, through fans vote, for the thunderbolt he unleashed against Baroka FC on his debut for Amakhosi.
“It all boils down to experience,” Hunt said on his team’s turnaround. “A famous coach once told me that when you are going through bad times, go back to basics. It’s pretty simple. It’s like in life, when things aren’t going well you have to go back when things were working for you.
"We got every player to do the things in his position they were doing before. I knew that a guy like Major (Majoro) would assist us. It’s not only about the goals he scores, but it’s also about the work he does for the team.
"If he stops doing that then he won’t play. But if he keeps working hard for the team and he does the right things, the goals will come and the team will benefit. That’s what has happened.
Congratulations to @gavinhunt12 for being awarded the February #Absaprem Coach of the month and @BalloJoro for being awarded the February #AbsaPrem player of the month 🎉🎉 #Nakanjani pic.twitter.com/lZxhLO39mF
"It’s not about individuals. It’s about getting people to do the right things in the right areas, sticking to the basics of simplicity. It’s easier said than done because there is a panic.”
Hunt was candid in his response that he didn’t think he would be receiving such an accolade looking at how dire the situation was in December.
“I am lucky to be here,” Hunt said. “We are really luck to be sitting here after December. That’s football. We had a very bad start to the season. With a few games to go we can still finish the season in a good position.
"We as coaches and the players owe it to the club. The club has been very supportive of us during the tough times. That shows the true signs of this football club, what it’s all about. That’s very important.
"In good times nobody says a word and the bad times shows you who is with you by showing togetherness. We are not out of it just yet. We still have a long way to go. It’s going to be tough.”