JOHANNESBURG – Bidvest Wits aren’t done yet in this month’s transfer window, according to their coach Gavin Hunt.
The reigning Absa Premiership champions’ opening fixture in 2018 against Free State Stars on Friday evening almost feels like a bit of a sideshow, but will probably give Hunt an indication of which areas still need strengthening.
“It’s early days,” he said after yesterday’s morning training session, which included new faces in defender Edwin Gyimah, returning loanee Sifiso Myeni and striker Lehlohonolo Majoro. Denis Weidlich, another centreback, hadn’t arrived from Maritzburg United yet - the struggling title holders have been busy.
“When you are in our position (bottom of the log after 14 games) you’ve got to do a little bit of something,” Hunt explained. “We can’t just keep going the way we have been. We have freshened the place up a little bit, and I am sure there will still be a lot more to be done - it’s only the first week of January.”
Bold statement to try and bring in so many players to turn the corner on results, while keeping the coach?
“Not really,” Hunt argued. “We have brought in another striker, a wide player we haven’t had because of injuries to (Elias) Pelembe and Kobamelo Kodisang. And defenders if you can get those, then that is another situation. I mean we haven’t scored goals, then we were caught with our pants down at the start of the season because most of our defenders were injured and that is why we conceded so many at times.”
Wits have also had to let a few players go. So far Slavko Damjanovic, Bokang Tlhone and Steve Pienaar have left.
“I hope they do well, that’s what you hope for when you bring players in,” said Hunt. “Majoro will certainly give us a lot more effort, closing from the front and running in good lines.
He will get himself more into (scoring) positions by working hard because that is in his DNA. Edwin is quite versatile. He arrived in SA (in 2011) as a midfield player and I made him a centreback - playing him there in one cup final and in the middle in another cup final. He is a good driving force. We have lacked a little bit of that.”
What happened with veteran Pienaar?
“It’s unfortunate,” Hunt said. “He is a good boy, a good professional and has huge experience. But I just think it didn’t work out, that’s football. You can’t look too much into it. I am disappointed, very disappointed. Maybe he needed a bit more time to settle, but that type of player shouldn’t really need too much time. Our league is very different in terms of the game itself.
At the start of the season we had about six players out and we had to play Steven. I think the fact that we kept losing and losing obviously didn’t help. What he has achieved in the game a lot of South Africans will be very proud of. I don’t think he gets enough credit for what he has achieved in the game. It didn’t work out and am sorry about it.”
Asked where he thinks Wits will finish on the Premier League table, the coach said he did not want to get ahead of himself.
“Some of our wins could have been losses. For me the bottom line is the two P’s - played and points, forget about everything else,” Hunt explained.
“I think this season we have created more chances and played better football, but we are bottom of the league. We normally struggle against Free State Stars but we knocked them out of the cup and we should have beaten them in their own ground. They got a penalty that never was in the 90th minute. That’s been the story of the PSL this season - the winners could have been losers and vice versa. It’s crazy.”
It's 2018 and the @OfficialPSL is back 🎉 Support the Clever Boys as they take on @FreeStateStars tomorrow night at the Bidvest Stadium. Kickoff is set for 20h00 #Nakanjani #AbsaPrem pic.twitter.com/sgfPmsnrWz