Hunt says Wits will be competitive against minnows St Louisienne
Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt says he and his club have been unfairly accused of taking African club competitions lightly but the ‘carrot’ of a meeting Egyptian giants Al Ahly will serve as major motivation to get past the first round.
Wits host St Louisienne of Reunion on Saturday evening at the Bidvest Stadium‚ trailing 2-1 after last weekend’s first round‚ first leg tie on the French-controlled Indian Ocean island.
“We have a big carrot to play in the next round‚” said Hunt of the fact the winner goes up against Africa’s most successful club side in the second round next month.
‘We are criticized for the team we fielded but we had a strong side last week. The thing about playing in Africa and this is true of the team (St Louisienne) we played against is the physicality‚ especially compared to playing against other South African sides. And the referees are much more lenient on those type of things.”
“So it takes some experience on our part‚ for a lot of the players. Most of our players have played in African club competition before‚ so we are OK with that. But our record is not great in Africa‚ we know that. But we are a club that is never at the same size as Orlando Pirates. We can’t compete at the same level as Pirates or Mamelodi Sundowns.
We’ve never won a league‚ we win a cup here and there. We have to box clever. I can’t change my team as much as some others can. That’s why we admire what Sundowns and Pirates have achieved‚ it’s phenomenal. But we are a small little club‚ we do our thing‚” he added.
Hunt said they will be competitive to ensure that they qualify for the next round of the competition. “But we certainly got to be more competitive. We’ve been so on the local scene and now we go into Africa with our squad of players and do the best we can.”
Criticism for Wits has followed embarrassing early round elimination from the African Confederation Cup over the last two years. They were beaten by Royal Leopards of Swaziland in 2015 and last year lost both home and away to Azam of Tanzania.
On both occasions they used a makeshift team‚ sparing their better players for domestic league assignment.