FILE - Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Bidvest Wits’ coach Gavin Hunt had dejection written all over his face after his troops got their Caf Confederation Cup group stage campaign off to a disappointing 0-0 draw to Horoya AC at Dobsonville Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Hunt’s expression was a mere reflection of the of the hardships they had to undergo as a team to get this far in the competition, following a heart-breaking talk made by former CEO Jose Ferreira that the Confederation Cup won’t be a “priority” due to the club’s financial woes this season.

In the qualifiers of the group stage, the Clever Boys gone about business as usual, though, acing their roles as they brushed aside Young Buffaloes 3-1 on aggregate in the preliminary round before hammering UD Songo 8-1 on aggregate to become the fourth team in Group C which also Al-Naser, Djoliba and Horoya.

But they’d receive their biggest challenge in round robin from outset as they welcomed the Guineans here in Soweto tonight. But the visitors proved to more determined to walk away with something, especially after the score was deadlocked at 0-0 heading into the interval as home team could couldn’t capitalise on handful chances in front of goal.

And that must have been a disappointing return for Hunt who had fielded mostly his regular starting Xl – having just dropped defensive midfielder Cole Alexander for attacker Hashim Domingo who was playing behind Mxolisi Macuphu.

Domingo did offer the Clever Boys creativity upfront and should have grabbed the lead for the hosts early into game but only hadn’t he ballooned his long-range efforts into the empty stands.

But not all was lost though as that half-a-chance offered the home team a bit fluidity going in their build-up play but only for their penetrative efforts failing to get past the traffic caused by the Guinean defence.

The West Africans may have set back at most – allowing Wits to bring the game to them – but they were quick on a break especially with gigantic striker Aristide Bance, who’s played for Chippa United and has a lofty billing in some parts of the continent, their target man.

It was, however, Amadou Djibo who had his team’s real chances in the first half, after cutting from the left flank before sending his efforts inches wide Ricardo Goss’ near post.

The second proved no different from the first, Wits’ carpet football letting them down as the Guineans continued to defend in numbers.

But there was a brim of hope – even from the handful locals who cheered on – when Gift Motupa came on for Mcupu. Macupu is Wits’ top goal-scorer in the competition having scored a hattrick when his team defeated Songo 6-1 in the return leg of the play-off at home.

Macupu, though, didn’t repeat his heroics though having been watched like a hawk by Horoya’s defence, as a clean sheet was imperative for them.

Hunt men may be disappointed with tonight’s outcome, especially at home, but they’ll be hoping to open their account in the competition when they travel to Mali on Sunday to face Djiloba.

IOL Sport