Wits off to worst start by PSL defending champions

16 September 2017 - 10:13 By Mark Gleeson
Bidvest Wits head coach Gavin Hunt reacts during the Absa Premiership match against Golden Arrows at Bidvest Stadium on September 13, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bidvest Wits head coach Gavin Hunt reacts during the Absa Premiership match against Golden Arrows at Bidvest Stadium on September 13, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

A total of six matches without a win at the start of a new season is fate that has never before befallen a reigning Premier Soccer League champion.

Bidvest Wits are setting a new‚ and unwanted record‚ as they get the defence of their league title‚ plus their MTN8 trophy from last year‚ off to a pedestrian start.

They began with a home draw in the quarter-final of the MTN8 against Lamontville Golden Arrows (advancing on post-match penalties) before losing to Cape Town City in the opening game of the new league campaign. They then drew at Free State Stars‚ followed by successive losses to Cape Town City in the MTN8 semifinals and losing to Arrows at home in the league on Wednesday.

Failure to post a victory in Saturday’s match against Kaizer Chiefs at Soccer City (kickoff: 6pm) will extend the winless streak to seven and suggest a slump for the champions‚ just a handful of months after they claimed the title.

Two years ago defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns also began poorly with three defeats‚ one draw and one win in the opening five games but it was nothing like the dire run of Gavin Hunt’s latest team.

At SuperSport in 2010‚ when Hunt was defending the second of his three successive league crowns with Matsatsantsa‚ it was also a jittery start.

SuperSport then were knocked out at the first stage of the MTN8 by AmaZulu and won only one of their first four league games – but victory over Chiefs in that period took the edge off the slow start.

The best start by a defending champions in the 20 years of the PSL came after Chiefs won the league in 2004 and began the next season‚ which they would also go on and win‚ with five successive victories‚ including grabbing a place in the Top Eight Cup final.

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