JOHANNESBURG - Bidvest Wits, the defending champions who are slowly clawing their way out of the worst start by a title holder in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) era, face another potential banana skin when they host Chippa United on Wednesday night.
The Clever Boys have come off some morale-boosting victories in their last two outings - a narrow win over leaders Baroka FC in a league match more than a week ago and then finally beating their hoodoo team Free State Stars in the opening round of the Telkom Knockout at the weekend.
With coach Gavin Hunt insisting there was no such thing as “a turning point” in football when asked by reporters whether the two positive results symbolised such, a confident Chippa outfit might then fancy their chances.
Hunt has suggested the PSL champions are still quite vulnerable because they are still missing key players, while his counterpart Teboho Moloi suddenly looks the part as the Chilli Boys head coach following two successive wins lately.
Moloi took six games to get going - drawing the first five since replacing Dan Malesela before beating Benni McCarthy’s Cape Town City last week in a league game and then eliminating Pitso Mosimane’s Mamelodi Sundowns in the Telkom Knockout to set up a home fixture at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium against Kaizer Chiefs in the quarter-finals on Sunday.
Chippa have been plucky, managing to hold on for a point when scoring has eluded them in previous matches. But Moloi made sure they found their scoring boots, and they would have certainly grown in confidence after taking the big scalp of African champions Sundowns.
Wits have also won two in a row, but Hunt’s post-match remarks after the Stars match that their camp still looked a bit like a hospital ward with several key players on the mend and his attempts to get things right on the day gives the impression the Clever Boys are still some distance from hitting the form that won them the league title last season.
Amr Gamal, however, is among their best players at the moment. The striker who is on loan from Egyptian giants Al Ahly has scored four goals in nine matches in all competitions and will be a major threat against Chippa once again.
Hunt said he is still battling to get instructions through to him because the 26-year-old doesn’t completely understand English. If he is already so deadly, imagine when he can do once he fully grasps what Hunt wants him to do and how Wits play.
A win for Wits, which would be their third in a row, will help move them further up the PSL standings and give them a confidence boost ahead of their Telkom Knockout quarter-final clash at Bidvest Stadium against Baroka.
Ditto for Chippa, who host a Chiefs side desperate to win a trophy this season.