JOHANNESBURG – Bidvest Wits, the Absa Premiership champions from two seasons ago, made a big statement on Tuesday night in beating Kaizer Chiefs 3-1 at the FNB Stadium.
Kaizer Chiefs – expected, perhaps purely because of their rich history, to be title contenders – proved why it may take a while before they start to click under their new coach.
A refreshed side with the appetite and aim to redeem themselves from an unbelievable 13th-place finish in May during the defence of their championship, Wits ran riot here and took advantage of Amakhosi, who appear to still be adjusting to the methods of new coach Giovanni Solinas.
Deon Hotto followed on his incredible debut at the weekend to grab the opener as the Clever Boys took the lead, with the Namibian finding the back of the net for a second match in succession.
Wits were asking too many questions of what seemed a hapless Amakhosi outfit when striker Khama Billiat won a foul just outside the penalty box.
Siphiwe Tshabalala, from the resulting set-piece, found the head of another forward in Leonardo Castro to level matters.
Terrence Dzvukamanja, a new boy at Wits as part of the changes to shake things up by coach Gavin Hunt, quickly restored their lead before halftime also with a headed goal from left back Sifiso Hlanti’s champagne cross.
You’d think Chiefs would have used the break to regroup in search of what would have been Solinas’ first win in charge, but not long after they emerged from the dug-out, the visitors pounced yet again.
The central defensive pair of Erick Mathoho and Daniel Cardoso were found wanting, mesmerised by Hotto’s quick feet before he set Gift Motupa free to side-foot past goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, adding a third for Wits on the score-sheet.
And there was simply no coming back for the Glamour Boys – the statistics not in their favour in as far as this margin is concerned.
The last time Chiefs scored four goals in the league was in an emphatic 4-1 victory over SuperSport United in September 2015, when Solinas’ predecessor Steve Komphela was in his first year as coach.
Amakhosi are a long way off from the type of football, let alone a score-line so impressive.
Solinas, maybe sensing that he had his work cut out upon his arrival, did warn that ‘my enemy is time’ when asked how soon Chiefs would be a well-oiled machine under his tutelage.
The unfortunate part is that no Amakhosi coach has ever been afforded time, not on the back of three years without a trophy.
Wits, on the other hand, might have changed a few perceptions when it comes to clubs considered Premier League challengers.
To have scored six goals in two matches (they beat Free State Stars 3-0 on Saturday) against sides that finished much higher than they did in the previous season is notable.
Hotto’s stunning opener from some yards outside the box stood out, and so did his overall performance.
And perhaps the Clever Boys can only be written off with extreme caution for those who do so.