Hunt laments Wits’ MTN8 absence
Posted: 16 August 2018 Time: 13:00
Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt is gutted to see an impressive achievement in his career run its course, but is pleased with his side’s start to the new season following last season’s debacle.
After steady progress with The Clever Boys since his arrival at the club in 2013, Hunt failed to lead his side to a top-three finish. In fact, last season saw him register his lowest finish in nearly two decades as Wits ended 13th.
The four-time Absa Premiership-winning tactician’s worst finish since beginning his topflight coaching career in 1998 with Hellenic was in 2001 when he could only manage a 14th-place finish with the Greek Gods.
2017/18 was also the first time Hunt failed to qualify a team for the MTN8 since joining Black Leopards in the 2001/02 campaign, which he has expressed his discontent over.
“This season is the first time since 1981 that I haven’t been in the top eight – as a player and as a coach, so you’ll know how I feel,” bemoaned Hunt, discounting his time as coach at Hellenic and Seven Stars.
“Since 1981 I’ve been playing and coaching in the top eight, so it’s the first time ever I’ve been out of it and I’m so upset about it.
“But you know, I always feel if you can get through that first game, you’ve got two games to find your squad and rhythm, and you can rotate a little bit here and there, so it’s very disappointing to have missed out.
“But, be that as it may, we’ve come together and had a good pre-season, we had a good re-think – we had to, after last season, it was a debacle.”
After beating both Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates in the space of a week, Wits sit pretty on nine points at the top of the log but Hunt refuses to get ahead of himself as he reflects on their improvement from their previous campaign.
“Last year we had 11 points after 15 games and now we’ve got nine after three. It’s crazy this game. And I don’t think we’ve played any better than last year, but that’s how football works," he said.
“So ja, we’ve had a big think-tank and tried to get players in the right places, which is very difficult when you’re working in the free-agent market, but that’s what we do."
Hunt also shared his view on 23-year-old signing Haashim Domingo, who returned to the country following a three-year spell in Portugal after graduating from the Ajax Cape Town youth academy in 2015.
“For me, young Haashim is the best player since Steven Pienaar that came out of the Ajax Cape Town academy – he was the top player there for all the years [he was there]," added Hunt.
“He got lost in the system and, players like that get lost in the national team – it’s absolute madness but that’s what’s happening, anyway.”