Steven Pienaar was one of the big off-season signings by Wits. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – The concern Gavin Hunt has over Bidvest Wits’ slow start to the season doesn’t give him sleepless nights, as he argues the Clever Boys have enough quality to shake themselves out of their slumber.

Wits have hardly looked like Premiership and MTN8 champions four games into this campaign.

The Clever Boys were outplayed at the start of their MTN8 defence, going 2-0 down before beating Golden Arrows on penalties in the opening quarter-finals of the lucrative competition.

Cape Town City took it a step further and beat Wits in the opening match of their league defence at Bidvest Stadium, a venue the Clever Boys had turned into a fortress on their way to winning the league for the first time in 96 years.

A draw with their bogey-side Free State Stars in the league and a 1-0 loss to the Citizens in the first leg of the MTN8 semi-final put the Clever Boys in an awkward position, and they will look to get themselves out of that predicament on Sunday in the return leg in Milpark by overcoming the deficit.

“I am concerned, the results haven’t been there. There is no doubt about that. But we also need to settle down and try to have a settled starting XI.

“There has been a lot of chopping and changing, not because I want to, but because of various reasons. We have to be better,” Hunt said.

Gavin Hunt is confident that his Wits team can turn things around. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

The tag of South African champions comes with more scrutiny. It’s something that could either hold the club back or push them to achieve more, depending on how they handle it.

The hard-to-please Hunt will definitely push his players like he has before.

He was quick to throw his new signings into the deep end so that those who did the job for him last year understand they have to do better than they did in their league-winning campaign to retain their places.

“There’s definitely that pressure, everyone is looking at us as the champions, and so it should be,” Hunt said. “But you want that pressure, don’t you? We wanted that because it will drive us. So we are okay.

“We have big players who can handle the situation. It’s just a matter of the big players stepping up a little bit more. That’s what it is about.

“Once you have won a little bit in football, teams will want to do a little more against you. The desire to win against you is a little bit more. But so be it.”

Daylon Claasen will hope to make a considerable impact at Wits once the league resumes. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Hunt continued: “I told the players that if you want to challenge, win things and be competitive, then you have to handle this better because you are going to get this week-in week-out from the opposition.

“But I would rather have that than the other situation (of being the one chasing). We have to be better results-wise.

“We have played okay, we haven’t been that bad when you consider some of the games we played last year where we were c**p, but we won those games. That’s football for you.”


The Star