Gavin Hunt on the blueprint for success he will now be expected to replicate at Wits
There isn’t a blueprint for replicating the sort of success Gavin Hunt had winning three successive league titles at SuperSport United‚ but there also is one‚ Absa Premiership champions Bidvest Wits’s coach has said somewhat cryptically.
It took three seasons of trial and error and panel-beating the core of a squad together for Hunt to finally transform Wits from a top eight club into league champions with 2016-17’s first title since the club’s formation in 1922.
Now that Wits have got there‚ the expectation does not lessen for the PSL’s now joint-most successful coach with Gordon Igesund and Ted Dumitru on four league titles.
In his first three seasons winning nothing at Wits‚ Hunt was being written off. Now the question is: can Hunt‚ especially in the era of Pitso Mosimane’s African champion Mamelodi Sundowns super-squad‚ replicate the domination he enjoyed at SuperSport?
Hunt was asked if there is a blueprint for such success.
“No‚ but yes‚” the coach chuckled.
“You’ve got to get the right type of player. It’s not about‚ ‘Is there a blueprint?’
“The right type of player in the right situation is the most important thing. I think that’s the blueprint.
“Once you lose whatever it is within that player‚ then you try and replace him.
“I mean‚ at SuperSport we sold Daine Klate to Orlando Pirates‚ and then we brought in Lyle Lakay who was a 17-year-old. So the blueprint got lost a little bit. Not because he was not good enough‚ but just the timing.”
Wits expect to keep the core of their title-wining squad together. CEO Jose Ferreira has said the club will not make blanket signings‚ but will strengthen in key areas.
There have been some losses already. Cuthbert Malajila and Mogakolodi Ngele have been recalled from loan by Sundowns. Jabulani Shongwe‚ increasingly a bit-player last season‚ is expected to move.
Hunt said Wits will certainly strengthen their squad‚ and already Daylon Claasen has been signed as forward replacement for Ngele on a free transfer from TSV 1860 Munich in Germany’s Bundesliga II.
“We have to strengthen‚” Hunt said.
“It’s like anywhere in the world. Anybody who wins needs to strengthen. And introduce a few young players as well. That’s what I’ve always done.
“When I was at SuperSport we brought kids in. When it’s the right time‚ you must do that.
“When you’re losing‚ don’t bring them in too much. But when you’re winning‚ you need to bring a few in. We’ve got a few who’re going to come.”
Asked who he thought he had coming through the youth ranks‚ Hunt said: “I think there’s a striker who’s half-decent. (SA U-20 international Sibongakonke) Mbatha is with us. (But) It’s not going to be easy (for him).”
Defensive midfielder Thamsanqa Sangweni has been negotiating with the Clever Boys as a free agent from Chippa United.
Wits might also seek a potential replacement for central defensive stalwart Buhle Mkhwanazi‚ who is out injured for eight months.