Hunt resists the urge to shower Egyptian striker with praise
That Gavin Hunt is a tough taskmaster has never been in doubt.
But after recently-signed Egyptian striker Ahmed Gamal Amr scored one of the most important goals - a second one in as many league matches - Bidvest Wits have managed this season‚ one would have thought that the mentor would be falling over himself to shower the player with praise.
That was the only lavish word Hunt offered to describe the 26 year-old's gem of a goal after Amr snatched a point for Wits right at the death in a 1-1 draw with Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday night.
Amr‚ by the way‚ hardly wasted his touches on the field of play and clearly knows his way to goals‚ having now proved that with two strikes in two league encounters.
And having put some gloss in what was the defending league champion's best performance so far this season against the ailing Amakhosi‚ you would have expected Hunt to run out of words pampering the player.
But Hunt is never easy to please.
"Gamal has played Champions League football and that's where I saw him‚" Hunt said.
"I don't think he's prolific but he is a fantastic footballer.
"You saw him tonight (Saturday night).
"I think he managed to hold the ball well in critical areas for us.
"Even though the pitch is not the best here (FNB) and elsewhere in the country at this time of year‚ he did very well scoring that fantastic goal."
The former Al Ahly striker deserved to earn Wits more than a point in a match they dominated in both halves‚ even though the visitors played the entire second half with 10 men after defender Nazeer Allie was sent off for reckless tackles on Chiefs' wingers Bongolethu Jayiya (18m) and Siphiwe Tshabalala (43m).
Wits attacked the Chiefs rearguard at will and managed to produce over five decent chances that were mainly thwarted by the ever reliable Amakhosi goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune‚ who once again produced a man-of-match performance.
After the match Hunt lamented his team's poor start to the season and attributed their challenges to serious problems at the back where they have leaked seven and scored three goals in four matches.
The Clever Boys have a pathetic two points to show for their efforts this season.
Looking ahead to his next match away to AmaZulu FC at King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban on Wednesday‚ Hunt hinted that he would continue to tinker with his line-up‚ saying rotation cannot be avoided in the modern game.
And perhaps rightly so when you are still‚ like Hunt‚ trying to find your best combination after refreshing your squad with signings that include Steven Pienaar and Daylon Claasen.
Hunt defended former Bafana Bafana captain Pienaar‚ who in the eyes many‚ is yet to settle down at Wits and set the scene alight after plenty of starts.
"Steven has no longer got the legs to run all over place anymore but he's hugely influential in the dressingroom. I thought he had a great game tonight."
Hunt emphasised that the synergy he's looking for in his team takes time to produce but he's hoping it will begin to show a lot more against AmaZulu on Wednesday.
What is undoubtable is that if Hunt can get his team to create as many chances as they did against Chiefs‚ a team without the brilliant Khune in goals will surely not stop them from collecting full points.
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