Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt: Phakamani Mahlambi learnt a lot on trial at Portugal's Vitoria Guimaraes
Posted: 6 September 2017 Time: 13:00
Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt believes Phakamani Mahlambi gained a lot during his trial in Portugal, and says his mentality is now at the correct level.
Mahlambi has returned from a three-week trial with Primeira Liga outfit Vitoria Guimaraes, where Bongani Zungu was prior to joining French side Amiens recently.
Having been unsuccessful during his assessment at the club, thoughts were that the 19-year-old forward could be mentally affected by having to return to the PSL.
However, Hunt was quick to dismiss such suggestions and asserted that Mahlambi is back to his old self.
“He’s okay, he should be okay. He features a lot [in our plans this season], I mean he’s a player with great ability, and he needs to fulfill that ability,” said Hunt.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done, but he’s okay. Mentally he’s fine, he’s the same boy that came here two years ago."
The four-time Absa Premiership-winning coach also revealed that the South Africa junior international featured as a fullback while on trial, which he believes was ultimately of great benefit to the player’s growth.
“I sent him on the trial to get a feel of the European environment and how they do things, the intensity is much more [in Europe],” he explained.
“They made him play right-back in the trials, there’s a reason why they do that – why? Because he must learn how to defend, which is something that’s not in his vocabulary or repertoire.
“Imagine me doing that in this country, I’ll get slaughtered, but that’s what needs to happen. A lot of South African players need to understand about defending.
“He learnt a lot, we had a long chat about it. We laughed about it, but that’s what they do, and it’s good.”
Asked whether he now has more cover at right-back, given Mahlambi's new experience, Hunt laughingly joked: “Not really. If he had to play right-back in our team, yoh! There’s a highway there.”
The reigning Absa Premiership Young Player of the Season's future is yet to be confirmed. Al Ahly are believed to have tabled a lucrative offer to Wits, with the Egyptian transfer window set to close next week Friday.