Local News 12.1.2017 09:49 am

Hunt hits back at Safa

Gavin Hunt of Bidvest Wits. Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images

Gavin Hunt of Bidvest Wits. Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images

Bidvest Wits head coach Gavin Hunt has hit back at reported claims from the South African Football Association (Safa) that he lacks pedigree on the continent.

Hunt is one of the men linked to the vacant Bafana Bafana head coach position, his name pushed further towards the top of the list by the media after another reported candidate, Roger De Sa was confirmed as Maritzburg United’s new coach on Tuesday.

According to the Times Media, ‘SAFA recently indicated that Hunt’s perceived reluctance to achieve success in Africa with Wits counted against him as a candidate for the national team job.’

The last two years have seen the Students knocked out of the Caf Confederation Cup at the preliminary stage, while Hunt also failed to make much of an impression in Africa with former club SuperSport United, who passed up the opportunity to compete on the continent on several occasions.

Recent seasons have seen the Bidvest-backed Johannesburg outfit able to lure some top stars, while lesser-knowns have also been developed into sought-after PSL players.

Hunt says though that his club still trails the likes of Caf Champions League winners Mamelodi Sundowns on the financial front and hit back at Safa’s claims that he has underperformed on the continent. The gist of his argument is that the domestic league has to be prioritised.

“That’s absolute bulls***. Because they’ve got no idea what they’re talking about,” the former Moroka Swallows and Black Leopards coach told The Sowetan with regards to Safa’s reported comments.

“So‚ we [Wits] are going to get relegated, but I’ll win the Champions League? Or‚ ‘Oh‚ he’s winning in Africa but, can’t win the league domestically’. What do you want? I mean‚ please‚ just look at the record for the last 25 years as a coach – I’ve never been out of the top six in the league.

“Give me the budgets of those teams [like Sundowns] and we’ll see where we go. But I don’t have them‚ so I’ll continue working with what I’ve got and building teams and players.”

The three-time league title winning coach went on to state that he has not been approached by Safa about the Bafana job.

He also says that he would have considered the national team position in July last year, but would not want to abandon his club mid-season.

“No-one’s approached me‚ no-one’s spoken to me – it’s all media talk. They (media) throw the names around – and some of the names baffle me. So I don’t read anything into that,” said the 52-year-old.

“The timing with that job is key. And right now they [Safa] don’t seem to know what’s going on. So my focus is here [at Wits]. And I’m saying this on the record – the timing was right when we weren’t going to qualify [for Afcon 2017] and there were two games left.

“But it was left and now in the world market who are you going to get? Most guys around the world have got jobs. But no-one has spoken to me officially‚ now or in July. It was all just media talk. And that’s the honest truth,” he added.

SAFA are reportedly unable to appoint a head coach until the outgoing man at the helm, Shakes Mashaba, has had his appeal heard over what he feels was an unfair dismissal

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Chiefs 1-0 Wits
Sundows 2-2 Highlands
Arrows 2-1 Pirates

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# Team GP Pts
1 Bidvest Wits 30 60
2 Sundowns 30 57
3 Cape Town City 30 55
4 Kaizer Chiefs 30 50
5 SuperSport United 30 48
6 Polokwane City 30 43
7 Maritzburg Utd 30 38
8 Arrows 30 38
9 Platinum Stars 30 37
10 Ajax Cape Town 30 36
11 Orlando Pirates 30 33
12 Bloemfontein Celtic 30 29
13 Chippa United 30 28
14 Free State Stars 30 28
15 Baroka FC 30 28
16 Highlands Park 30 27

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