Chokoe: Hunt's like owning a Lambo


Tshakhuma Tsha Madzhivhandila CEO Sello Chokoe has revealed how they are going to deal with the club's head coach position and the rest of the Bidvest Wits players.

TTM are set to compete in the top-flight next season after acquiring The Clever Boys' Absa Premiership status, pending PSL approval.

New owner Lawrence Mulaudzi has already confirmed they will not retain Wits head coach Gavin Hunt, with former Chelsea assistant coach Baltemar Brito already interested in the position.

"No no no, I have hung up my boots in terms of coaching, I'm running the team now," Chokoe tells when asked if perhaps he will pick up the coaching reins again.

"And ja we will make a proper announcement when it comes to the new players and the new technical staff. Ja look, we respect Gavin Hunt, he's a good coach, he's high quality, but I think it will be difficult for us to afford him because we spent a lot of money now buying the team so we'll want to actually run the team with a reasonable budget.

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"If you want Gavin Hunt you must be willing to pay a lot money. It's like wanting to drive a Lamborghini, you must be willing to pay a lot so we are not at that stage, we've spent a lot of money buying the team. And it will be difficult for us to afford a coach of Gavin's calibre."

Chokoe says high salaries have also forced TTM to part ways with some quality Wits players, with Thulani Hlatshwayo and Deon Hotto already agreeing to join Orlando Pirates and a few others close to joining Mamelodi Sundowns, and more expected to leave.

"Ja look we are not trying to be selfish. Most teams they were actually after Wits players even before the team was sold. And we are free to allow those players to go because you know part of the reason we cannot afford them is because we used a lot of money to buy the team. So their salary bill is so huge that it might be difficult for us to run. So we are selling them to other teams. We are working together [with Wits] to sell them, all these players."

READ: Chief explains why Bidvest sold Wits

Asked how they are going to overcome past troubles of failing to pay salaries now that they will be in the top-flight, Chokoe is defiant.

"I must be clear on this one. Not that we were unable to pay some players when we were in the NFD. I mean when the team started, the mistake that Mr Mulaudzi made was to let people who have never run football run the team. And as a result, they made a lot of mess to an extent that sometimes they would sign players without him knowing. And then you know it becomes difficult for him to pay the bill.

"So me coming back to the team as a CEO was to clean up the mess and so far I've done very well, I've cleaned all the mess and next season in the PSL we going to start on clean slate. And luckily, I'll be running the team so I will never have that kind of a problem.

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"Ja look South Africa is a free country and a lot of people have their rights and you know if I was comfortable with Wits here in Joburg [as a player], and I'm not comfortable to go to Tshakhuma and play in Venda, I think we can sit and look into the matter. And then we can see how best we can find a solution that will satisfy both the player and the team. We cannot force a player to relocate if he doesn't want to, but I'm not saying we will just release players because they don't want to relocate.

"Obviously, we cannot despise the whole team because it will be difficult to start from scratch so you need to have at least a few players that have been playing together and understand each other for some time. And then we reinforce them with a few players that we had from the GladAfrica [Championship], from our old team and also the other players that we recruit from the GladAfrica teams that we feel are good enough to play in the PSL.

READ: All Stars purchase TTM's NFD status

"So ja we will keep eight to ten players with the previous team. Fortunately, when you look at the log you can see that we will participate in the MTN8. So I think that's something that we need to build on for the whole of this season. We don't want to be a relegation type of a team, where you know every year you struggle like most of our counterparts in Limpopo. For years they've been fighting relegation. Even now if we check, the three of them are still there. We want to consistently finish in the top eight and do well in competitions."