Wits hosting Pirates as underdogs - who can keep up with this thing called the PSL?

22 September 2017 - 15:36 By Sazi Hadebe
Gavin Hunt (head coach) of Bidvest Wits. File photo.
Gavin Hunt (head coach) of Bidvest Wits. File photo.
Image: Ziyaad Douglas/Gallo Images

Strange things happen in SA football and when do they tend to occur at a terrifying pace - who could ever have predicted Bidvest Wits hosting Orlando Pirates in an Absa Premiership match at Bidvest Stadium on Saturday as underdogs?

Wits won the league title last season and Pirates finished outside the top 8 for the first time in PSL history.

How quickly the tables can turn in this crazy PSL.

Wits have already written an embarrassing piece of history this season – now being the defending champions with a worst start in 21 years of the PSL’s existence.

That the Clever Boys have lost three and drawn two in their league start is not down to them being in short supply of depth in their squad. In fact they have it in abundance compared to many of their opponents‚ including Pirates.

The strange thing is that Wits’ astute coach Gavin Hunt is finding it hard to pinpoint what has led them sitting second from bottom of the table after conceding 10 goals and only scoring three in five league matches played so far this season.

Talking about Saturday’s game against a vastly improved Pirates under the guidance of Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic‚ Hunt demanded that his team show the mental strength that helped them to win the league for the first time in a 96-year history last season.

“I know my best XI but I haven’t had a chance to play them for one reason or another‚” Hunt said after the shock 3-0 drubbing away to AmaZulu FC on Wednesday.

“We have to keep working and fighting‚ believing that we can still change our fortunes.

“We have to welcome Pirates prepared because they’ve shown a lot of strength and character under Micho. There’s no doubt that we have the team to match them.”

Sredojevic will come to Milpark looking for points to help them cement their stay near the summit having managed to pick three victories and two draws in their start.

And if all the weekend results go Bucs’ way‚ they will actually own that summit come Monday.

After their midweek 1-0 home victory against Cape Town City on Tuesday‚ Sredojevic tried hard to emphasise to the media that Pirates are still way too far to from where they want to be in their game.

“Look‚ there are many promising signs in our team even though we are yet to do things convincingly in all aspects of our play‚” said Sredojevic whose side looked far from convincing upfront playing without target-man Thamsanqa Gabuza‚ whose absence was strangely not explained.

“Our match against Wits is never going to be easy. We are expecting a very tough and unpredictable game.”

Pirates’ faithful will hope whatever the problem was between Gabuza and the club would have been resolved come the time they meet Wits.

Bucs looked toothless upfront on Tuesday until Sredojovic’s timely introduction of young Lyle Foster and Thabiso Kutumela for Bernard Morrison and Mpho Maleka.

The two substitutes played a critical part in creating the Bucs winner on Tuesday‚ with Kutumela producing a telling pass to Foster who crossed on the right for Thabo Qalinge to get the all-important winner.