DURBAN – Wits coach Gavin Hunt is an experienced campaigner who is aware that they won’t have a smooth ride in their pursuit of Premiership honours this season.
Hunt, a four-time Premiership-winning coach, had to urge his players to be calm after their 2-0 defeat to Kaizer Chiefs at Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday night.
His troops stormed over to referee Victor Gomes after he sent off defender Robyn Johannes in the last minute of the game.
“We’ve been suffering a lot lately because of these situations, so we have to be strong, and obviously we are not everybody’s favourite,” Hunt said in the post-match interviews.
“I am disappointed because we had this situation last week, and we have it again this week. And, I think there’ll be more to come.”
Moreover, they might currently be atop of the log standings with a two-point lead over second-placed Orlando Pirates.
But their loss to Chiefs at home was an additional remainder that they still have a lot of frailties to work on before they can be seriously deemed as the team to beat in the championship race this campaign.
Unlike the 2016/2017 season, where they ended their 97-year wait to claim their first league title, the Clever Boys have endured their worst run at home.
That season Wits bagged six wins and two draws from eight matches – in all competitions – while they’ve now only managed four wins, one draw and three losses from the same number of games.
However, Hunt is not fazed by their disturbing home record.
“Who’s top of the league with a home record? It’s us. Who’s top of the league with the away record? It’s us. We just have to keep going. I don’t know, what more do you want?” Hunt said.
“You want us to win by 10 points? We can’t. We are not good enough to win (the league) by 10 points.”
Aspects that Hunt has mastered in his coaching career are working within a tight budget, and polishing raw diamonds into superstars.
The 54-year-old coach’s philosophy proved to be fruitful with SuperSport United as he rotated the same squad that went on to win three back-to-back league titles in the PSL era.
To his downfall, last season, when he tried to conform to the norm of buying and playing superstars – while dropping his regulars – he had to eat humble pie as he found himself languishing in the bottom half of the table.
This season Hunt has turned to his original guns, and so far, he’s got the mojo that saw them claim their first league title in almost a century.
“With what we’ve got, spent and done, we are featherweights punching heavyweights,” Hunt insisted.
“I mean, look at what their team (Chiefs) costs, and look at what our team costs. And look where they are, and where we are. And where other teams are; you’ve got to give us credit.
“To win the league with (average) players, and win the trophy last year (is a milestone), so we’ve got to keep going.”@Minenhlecr7