Editorials 19.5.2017 05:53 am

Gavin’s hunt for youth pays off

Gavin Hunt and Jose Ferreira as Bidvest Wits win the 2016/17 Absa Premiership title during football match between Bidvest Wits and Polokwane City at Bidvest Stadium, Johannesburg on 17 May 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Gavin Hunt and Jose Ferreira as Bidvest Wits win the 2016/17 Absa Premiership title during football match between Bidvest Wits and Polokwane City at Bidvest Stadium, Johannesburg on 17 May 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Bidvest Wits sealing the Absa Premiership with a match to play for the first time in their 96-year history is tribute to coach Gavin Hunt’s belief in the youth.

It is axiomatic in football that the truly great sides arise from the dedicated application of an enlightened youth policy. You only have to recall the Manchester United team Sir Matt Busby built virtually from scratch at Old Trafford.

With an average age of 22, the media labelled the back-to-back title-winning side of 1956 and 1957 “the Busby Babes”, a testament to Busby’s faith in his youth players who had gradually replaced the older players of the team which had enjoyed success in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

The same can be said of the United team of young guns who dominated the ’90s under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson which saw the emergence of players like Scholes, Giggs, Beckham, Butt and the Neville brothers in a side which won the Premier League, FA Cup and the Uefa Champions League treble in the 1998-99 season.

Bidvest Wits sealing the Absa Premiership with a match to play for the first time in their 96-year history is tribute to coach Gavin Hunt’s belief in the youth coming through the club’s academy, arguably the best in South Africa.

We salute Hunt’s faith and the willingness of his young champions to snatch the chances given to them.

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