PSL / 12 February 2020, 4:00pm / Bonginkosi Ndadane
How you view Bidvest Wits’ four games in hand says a lot about you.
There are the optimists who view the club as a genuine Absa Premiership contender as success in those games will put them closer to league leaders Kaizer Chiefs, who they still have to face twice.
The pessimists will tell you that games in hand don’t mean points in the bag, and there are many teams who have shown that by failing to make their catch-up programme count.
And then there are the realists, like Wits coach Gavin Hunt, who view the situation as something that will be defined by what the Clever Boys make of it.
It could go gloriously well, or it could end badly - it’s all down to how the team handle it, having been toughened by their CAF Confederation Cup sojourn.
The high of beating Orlando Pirates in a dramatic and entertaining Nedbank Cup clash last weekend will carry the side in their league run, starting tonight against Maritzburg United at Bidvest Stadium.
Just three points and one position separate fifth-placed Wits and the high-flying Team of Choice, who sit in sixth place.
Maritzburg are on a high of their own thanks to how they narrowly escaped relegation in the play-offs in May only to be fighting for the Telkom Knockout final seven months later.
At the heart of that turnaround is coach Eric Tinkler, who has brought intensity and a strong work ethic into the KZN Midlands outfit.
Tinkler and Hunt are a lot alike - tough competitors who demand a lot from their players and are sick at the sight of finishing second.
Their teams mirror their personalities, which will make tonight’s clash a hard-fought battle between well-structured teams with stubborn defences.
They also have burly strikers in Gift Motupa of Wits and Maritzburg’s Judas Moseamedi, who are a handful for defenders.
Motupa was heavily linked with a move away from Wits but the Clever Boys kept him and he scored the goal that took their clash with Pirates into extra-time.
“It’s important to keep Gift,” Hunt said.
“I saw a report in the newspaper that was disturbing from another coach, about our player, us turning down a certain amount of money. It’s a disgrace. Things should never be like that. The boy’s head is in the clouds because of all the talking from everybody.”
Motupa will have to return to reality quickly as Wits need these three points if they are to make the most of their games in hands.