Mlambo and James Keene

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Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt explains Xola Mlambo's absence

Posted: 29 August 2017 Time: 12:22

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt says injuries haven't helped Xola Mlambo's cause amid fierce competition for game-time in the Clever Boys engine room.

READ: Mlambo vows to return stronger

Mlambo was restricted to nine Premiership appearances last term due to ankle and hamstring complaints, and is yet to feature for the champions in their first four outings in 2017/18.

Hunt has ample options in midfield, including ex-Ajax Cape Town skipper Granwald Scott and new signings Steven Pienaar and Daylon Claasen, while Thabang Monare impressed prior to sustaining a knock in the 1-0 loss to Cape Town City in the MTN8 semi-finals on Sunday.

"He's been injured a lot of the time," Hunt said of Mlambo following the first-leg defeat at Cape Town Stadium.

"Fitness levels and all those things have to come into account, so that's the problem you know. I thought Scott was very good, so there are no problems there. We have got a lot of players in that area. He hasn't been fit, he didn't do much of the pre-season, he missed a lot of time, so he will come into the reckoning."

Meanwhile, the former SuperSport United boss felt Wits were the better side in both meetings with City, having also gone down 1-0 to Benni McCarthy's men in the first league game of the campaign at Bidvest Stadium.

READ: Hunt - Judge Benni after 1000 games

"Again, I thought by far we were the better team. We tried to play, it was difficult. We should have won the game comfortably. One long throw, the ball bobbled and bounced. It's disappointing because I thought we did all the playing, they sat in. They play that way, so we got to be careful. We certainly should have won the game comfortably."

He added: "I think if you look at the first game and look at this game we conceded a set-piece last time and another set-piece this time and conceded. If we had taken half our chances over two games we could have won by whatever... it's disappointing but we got to keep plugging away and working."

Article by: Stephen Kihn
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