Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt still touts Mamelodi Sundowns as Premiership title favourites
Posted: 16 March 2017 Time: 12:15
Despite taking just two points from the last nine available, Mamelodi Sundowns still have the “inside lane” on the Absa Premiership title race, according to Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt.
Hunt has led The Clever Boys to the top of the league table with 38 points from their 19 matches, above Cape Town City on goal difference and four points ahead of defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
However, if the Brazilians win their two games in hand they will go two points ahead, but recent evidence suggests they are faltering after draws against Chippa United and Polokwane City and a loss to Cape Town City in their last three league games.
But Hunt says it is still Sundowns’ title to lose and rued missed opportunities for his side to pull clear earlier in the season.
“To be fair they [Sundowns] have still got the inside lane in the league if they win their outstanding games, but we’ve thrown it away ourselves so far, we should be well clear by now,” he said.
“We drew games in December that were unbelievable. But it is a long stretch, you don’t have to win the league by 10 points, one will do or even goal-difference. It’s going to be tight between the four or five teams in the running.”
Sundowns have been struggling with a hectic fixture schedule and Wits have started to see their match list also pile up due to their participation in the CAF Champions League.
But Hunt says he won’t be moaning about the schedule of his side and believes they can cope.
“I always say, in South Africa we train far too much and we don’t play enough. If you look at the guys in Europe, they are playing 50 to 60 games in a season,” he said.
“We have had two breaks this year and the PSL have done well to get the fixtures all in line and get everybody playing. They have got a hell of a job.”
Wits eased into the last-16 of the Nedbank Cup with a routine 2-0 victory over National First Division side Cape Town All Stars on Wednesday, despite Hunt making eight changes to the side.
“The first 20 minutes of the game we should have had three or four [goals] and then they had, I wouldn’t say chances, but they had more momentum in the game.
“I thought once we scored in the second half it was over. One goal was always going to do it.
“But when you make a lot of changes [to you squad] like that, you leave yourself a little bit open and you don’t know what you are going to get, because a lot of these players have played here and there, and then you throw them in for 90 minutes.
“I took a bit of a gamble, but I have to. We cannot keep playing the same eight, nine or ten, especially with what we have been through this week. In all the teams I’ve coached I’ve always rotated my teams, I think it’s important.”
Wits are next in action at home on Sunday when they host Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the second leg of their Champions League first round tie, where they trail 1-0 from the reverse game in Cairo last weekend.