Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has warned his team not expect an easy game against Primeiro de Agosto . Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has told his players to brace themselves for a physical tussle in the second leg of their CAF Champions League group stage play-off against Primeiro de Agosto this evening.

The Clever Boys are already on the back-foot having suffered a 1-0 defeat away at the Estadio 11 de Novembro in Angola during the first leg, midfielder Geraldo scoring the winner for the home side ten days ago to set up a tense return leg at the Bidvest Stadium.

“They are a very physical side,” Hunt said. “And they are actually very good. They are set up well and they are coached well. Obviously they are taking this competition seriously and you could see that in the first leg.”

The Wits coach, however, lamented the poor officiating  a pet peeve for many clubs in the game overall, but especially in this continental tournament.

“I don’t want to complain, but the refereeing was absolutely diabolical,” Hunt moaned. “I mean we were getting kicked around and our goalkeeper was down a few times to receive treatment. We had five yellow cards and they had none. It didn’t make a difference that the game was televised there. Some of the decisions were shocking. But you have to keep playing. That’s how it is in this tournament.”

Kyle Peters, who played in goal ahead of first choice Darren Keet and veteran Moeneeb Josephs, will miss out on the second leg because he is now suspended after his was cautioned away in Luanda.

“We are also quite thin in general. We won’t have our goalkeeper, we couldn’t register everyone so we only have one striker in (Lehlohonolo) Majoro because Eleazer Rodgers got injured and we didn’t register James Keene. We did enough to win the game there, but as you know, scoring has been a problem for us,” Hunt explained.

Thobani Mncwango, who partnered Rodgers in the first leg, should still be available, though he is yet to sore for Wits since joining from Polokwane City in January.

“A few of our players are not back from injury either. But we must soldier on.”

The coach said he was still excited by the prospect of qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League  Africa’s premium club competition, won by South African side Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016.

“We were unlucky last year,” Hunt said, recalling the narrow 1-0 aggregate defeat over two legs to eight-times champions Al Ahly at this stage of the tournament.

“The year before that we threw it away. But we have had a better route this time around. The players know my expectations and they also want to achieve this for the club. This team can cause an upset for us. We did not handle them well there, but we need to at home.”

Saturday Star

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