PSL / 31 August 2019, 11:40am / Bonginkosi Ndadane
If it was up to coach Gavin Hunt, Bidvest Wits would play all of their games away instead of at Bidvest Stadium, where they have struggled in the past.
The Clever Boys made the venue a fortress in their march to the Absa Premiership title three seasons ago - their first league crown in almost 100 years.
But since then, the stadium hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Hunt and his charges.
They might have beaten Stellenbosch FC 2-1 on Wednesday night but they made a meal of the victory.
Minutes after captain Thulani Hlatshwayo had given the Clever Boys the lead, he scored in his own net to give the Premier Soccer League rookies their first goal of the new season.
Gift Motupa came from the bench to rescue the situation to give Wits three wins from their first four matches. The only blemish on their record is a loss to Baroka FC at home in the league.
“We’ve been too frustrated at home,” Hunt said.
“We’re too anxious because we want to score. We create so many chances. We’ve got to finish them off. There are so many opportunities. It’s frustrating, and then it comes back to bite you.
“When it was 1-1 (against Stellenbosch) I thought, ‘here we go again’. The same thing happened when we played Baroka. At times we move the ball well.
“We should play away from home every week. We play well away. At home we’re little bit anxious, we’re trying to play at 100 miles per hour, and teams catch us on a break.
“That hurts us. It has hurt us this season.
“The problem at home is that you are anxious, you want to play on the front foot and go at teams. You want to pin them back.
“Away from home, they are trying to put you on the back foot. It’s a counter-pressing type of game.”
SuperSport United thumped the Students 3-0 at Bidvest Stadium in the MTN8 which means that they will be inactive in the domestic league until September 21 due to the two-legged MTN8 semi-finals and the Fifa break.
On the weekend of September 13-15, they will travel to Swaziland to take on Young Buffaloes in the CAF Confederation Cup, which isn’t a priority for the club.
Wits will host the return leg on the last weekend of September.
“Our luck at home has just been horrendous,” Hunt said. “Horrendous!
“I don’t think that they (Stellenbosch) had a chance all night. They haven’t scored a goal this season, and they still haven’t scored.
“But the point I am trying to make is that when you are playing against a team that hasn’t scored, you know that they will score eventually. I thought, ‘here we go again, my luck for them to score against us’.”
While Wits will be inactive, their goalkeeper Brandon Peterson was given an unlikely Bafana Bafana call-up after a shaky start.
The national team’s interim coach Molefi Ntseki explained that the 24-year-old was called up for the Bafana squad to face Zambia in a friendly in Lusaka next Saturday because most of the young goalkeepers in his plans were either injured or he is saving them for the under-23 national team.
“He (Peterson) has got all the attributes,” Hunt said. “He’s got a nice presence. His agility is good. He’s okay. He has come from a non-pressurised situation to a pressurised situation where he has to win.
“Where he comes from it wasn’t all about winning, it was more about other things. Let the national team have a look at him and see how they feel about him.”