JOHANNESBURG - Kaizer Chiefs are losing steam. Orlando Pirates are, for the moment, a half product according to their coach. And the Absa Premiership defending champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, are currently chasing continental glory.
Seems like the right time for leaders Bidvest Wits, who have won three in a row and become early pace setters, to pick up momentum. But Gavin Hunt isn’t getting carried away, although he knows what a championship side should look like having gone all the way with Wits two seasons ago as well as with SuperSport United on three occasions.
One of the reasons the coach feels like their early impetus could be stifled is their absence from the MTN8, which means after hosting SuperSport in a league clash tomorrow night the Clever Boys will not kick a ball for 11 days.
“Since 1981 I have been playing in the top 8 as a player and coach. So I am extremely upset about it for personal reasons, but also because I always feel if you can get through the first two games (league and cup) you have got time to find your squad and you can rotate here and there,” Hunt said.
“But be that as it may, we have come together, had a good pre-season and a good rethink. We had to do that obviously after last season’s debacle (Wits finished 13th). Last year we had 11 points after 15 games. Now we have nine after three. This game is crazy.”
The Clever Boys lead the current standings with a 100 percent record following a 3-0 win in their opener against Free State Stars, a rampant display when they beat Chiefs 3-1 and a structured as well as measured performance to also put one over Pirates in a narrow 1-0 away win on Wednesday night. Bizarrely, although typical of Hunt, he still feels Wits played a lot better in those early games a year ago than they are doing now.
“That’s how football works. We’ve had a big think tank and we tried to get in a few players even though it is difficult when you work in the free agent market. We have young Haashim (Domingo) and for me he is the best player that’s come out of the Ajax (Cape Town) academy since Steve Pienaar,” he explained. “He was the top player there for all the years, but got lost in the system.
"Players like him get lost in our national teams, it’s absolute madness. If our players were to be honest about our performances right now they would tell you that it’s not great. But what is football all about? In two or three weeks time these games would have been forgotten. So it doesn’t matter how well you play or what you do, in every football match it’s about getting the results - we are in the results business.”
Hunt’s certainly not looking forward to that lull after the SuperSport match, where they will only have one league fixture sandwiched in between the MTN8 semi-finals and then the upcoming international break. However, he is relieved that one of the worst moments of his career looks to be behind him.
“Our biggest problem last year was to beat the teams below us, that’s what we didn’t do. We got no points from Platinum Stars (relegated) last year, one point from Ajax (also relegated) and one point from Polokwane City (finished just above the relegated sides).
“That’s why we were where we were. Had we won those we would have come third. It can go anywhere in this league. We just want to get to 30 points and be safe first - I’ve got to keep my job. My goodness, last season was a nightmare.”