CAPE TOWN – Pitso Mosimane and Gavin Hunt have a lot more in common than both coaches would like to admit.
They will both agree that tomorrow night’s titanic PSL clash at Bidvest Stadium between first-placed Wits and second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns isn’t about them - even though it is.
If it wasn’t for these coaches, who are both serial winners and are the only men who have won every domestic trophy on offer, there wouldn’t be this tense rivalry between these two clubs. The two have mutual respect for one another, but they also have thrown some jibes at each other due to their competitive nature and never backing down from a challenge.
Mosimane once described a trip to Bidvest Stadium as similar to a visit to Stoke City - an English club notorious for their physicality and route-one football.
This game is a game of its own so you let go,” Mosimane said in May 2017 after admitting that he always budgets for a loss when he visits Bidvest Stadium. Hunt and the Clever Boys held their tongues after that jibe.
They responded after winning the league title for the first time in the club’s history. They labelled that victory as a win of humility over arrogance.
Sundowns responded by reclaiming the championship last season, following up on Mosimane’s promise that he would fetch the league title from Wits’ trophy cabinet.
The tit-for-tat exchange between these two clubs is fuelled by Mosimane and Hunt’s ambition. Both coaches were shaped by their time at SuperSport United. Their contribution at Matsatsantsa made the club what it is today - Mosimane laid the foundation and Hunt took it the next level. And that’s where the rivalry started.
Mosimane’s supporters claim that Hunt’s success was built on Jingles’ legacy. Hunt’s supporters dispute that by saying that Hunt managed to do what Mosimane couldn’t do - win the league not once, or twice but three times - all while his best players were being poached every season which meant it was a completely different team.
But now that they are both managing clubs who can keep their best players, the rivalry has intensified.
Sundowns and Wits are both bankrolled by billionaires, but the way they use their money is different.
Hunt and Mosimane are both head-strong individuals who will never compromise on their values regardless of who says what. It’s those traits and their similarities that make contests between their teams entertaining.
Mike de Bruyn