Goalkeeper Ricardo Goss has lauded the fighting spirit shown by his Bidvest Wits teammates in their efforts to keep up with the Premiership pacesetters, amid their gruelling catch-up games due to continental commitments.
In a season that was set to test Wits’ mettle, having qualified for the CAF Confederation Cup group stage, while also eager to rise to the pinnacle of South African football, coach Gavin Hunt’s men haven’t disappointed as they’ve shown a sterner side.
So far they’ve collected two points out of nine in their first continental group-stage qualification, while they are fourth on the domestic league standings with 26 points, nine behind Kaizer Chiefs, who’ve played three games more.
While Wits are eager to fight tooth and nail to close the gap, they’ve been helped by the frailties of the log leaders.
Chiefs dropped five points in their last two matches after a draw and loss against Maritzburg United and SuperSport United respectively.
Goss maintains they are where they aimed to be at the start of the season.
“We’ve been brilliant and we’ve put our best out there, so that has made us on par with our targets,” he said.
“We won’t think that we’ve arrived but we’ll continue going. We know what we have to do but we’ll focus on one game at a time. That’s how you win things.”
Today (7.30pm), the Clever Boys will make a short trip to the nation’s capital, where they’ll visit defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who are second on the log with 31 points.
This will be the two teams’ second meeting in less than a month, having already shared the spoils in a thrilling one-all draw at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban early in December.
The Clever Boys have been good travellers this season but Goss knows all too well it would be naïve of them to think that they can easily get away with maximum points against the current kings of South African football.
“We’ll go with the same approach as we’ve done this whole season because it’s been working for us. But we know that Sundowns are a quality team,” he said.
“We’ll have to give them a run for their money, and they’ll also want to do the same. But what is important is that we stick to what we know.”
Wits’ defence has been exceptional. Goss and his back four hold the best defensive record in the league, having only been breached on eight occasions.
“I’ve got a terrific defence in front of me. The guys in the back four are all experienced and that has made me to look good,” he said.
“Together as the goalkeeper department, that also has Brighton Mhlongo and Brandon Peterson, we’ve been pushing each other and we have a very healthy competition.”
Meanwhile, Josef Zinnbauer will be hoping to bag his second win in three matches as Orlando Pirates’ new coach when they travel to Peter Mokaba Stadium (7:30pm) to face Polokwane City.
The German coach started his tenure by beating Black Leopards 3-1 at their Orlando Stadium home in the last game of 2019.
However, the Buccaneers had a moderate start to 2020, drawing 1-1 with Bloemfontein Celtic at the Dr Molemela Stadium on Saturday.
And with tonight’s match their second in a row away from home, that should test Zinnbauer’s mettle of handling the pressure of being out of his comfort zone.
But in the bigger scheme of things, many will be eager to see whether assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena will return to the bench after notably being absent against Phunya Selele.