Knocking Chiefs out of the TKO could be a turning point in Wits’ season

19 November 2017 - 14:54 By Marc Strydom
Gavin Hunt. File photo.
Gavin Hunt. File photo.

Reaching the Telkom Knockout final could be a turning point in Bidvest Wits’ season‚ coach Gavin Hunt said after Saturday’s 1-0 semifinal win against Kaizer Chiefs at Bidvest Stadium.

Hunt said that if losing against Cape Town City 3-1 on aggregate in the semis of the first cup competition of the season‚ the MTN8‚ and missing a host of chances had negatively affected Wits’ season‚ he hoped reaching the TKO final would have the opposite effect.

“I thought we should have been in in the MTN8 final‚” Hunt said.

“I mean we were stiff. But over those two legs‚ how we never [won]. And we were disappointed.

“And then I think that went into our season a bit. I mean we had all the opportunities and then didn’t make it count.

“Hopefully this can take us the other way.

“We know the task on Tuesday [against Mamelodi Sundowns] – they’re a good side with very good players. Pitso [Mosimane] has done well there.

“And we know what we’re up against. But we’re just going to have to battle through this period with what we’ve got.”

Wits meet Sundowns in a league match at Bidvest Stadium on Tuesday night.

While the Clever Boys have shown signs of a turnaround with five wins from seven league and cup matches‚ the defending PSL champions remain rooted in second-last place in the league.

And Wits‚ still battling injuries and absences‚ are yet to discover any form of genuine‚ convincing fluency.

They were hardly convincing again against Chiefs.

Hunt laid Wits out in a 3-5-2 formation to counter the same system by Amakhosi counterpart Steve Komphela.

Wits dominated the first half‚ thanks to James Keene’s 28th-minute opener that came from a free-kick awarded as Chiefs’ Wiseman Meyiwa was sent off for stamping on Daine Klate.

But 10-man Amakhosi surged back in the second half‚ where they were unfortunate not to equalise.

“We kept giving the ball away in the second half‚ and allowed them to come at us. But‚ all-in-all‚ I thought it was a gutsy performance‚” Hunt said.

“We’ve got to do what we have to do. We’ve got what we’ve got.

“We’ve got Phumlani Ntshangase playing centreback and Daine playing inside‚ because we’ve got no personnel – we haven’t had the whole season.

“We had to do something and set up a team in a certain way. We had the two strikers [Keene and Amr Gamal].

“And I knew with James – you know‚ I mean he’s not fit‚ but if he gets half-a-chance he’ll score.

“But certainly‚ over the course of the 90 minutes‚ it was good at times but sloppy at other times. Because of the way we set up‚ I think.”