Hunt targets a win against ‘tough’ Pamplemousses

Gavin Hunt, coach of Bidvest Wits (Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix)

Gavin Hunt, coach of Bidvest Wits (Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix)

Bidvest Wits headed off for Mauritius yesterday, with a trickier task than they might have hoped for on the cards against Pamplemousses SC in the second leg of their 2018 Caf Champions League qualifier.

Wits won the first leg at Bidvest Stadium 2-0, through goals from Kabomelo Kodisang and Eleazar Rodgers, but wasted a host of other opportunities to make their trip to this island country more relaxed.

Coach Gavin Hunt will go into this game without the suspended Keagan Ritchie, who had an impressive debut in the first leg, but then got himself sent off for violent conduct late in the game.

Still, Hunt certainly has an experienced replacement in Bafana Bafana leftback Sifisio Hlanti, who had a fine game in Wits’ 2-1 win at Golden Arrows on Saturday, a result that moved the Clever Boys even further away from relegation trouble.

Striker James Keene was sent off against Arrows, and it could be that Hunt decides to use the English striker against Pamplemousses, as he will now miss Wits’ next two Absa Premiership games, at Cape Town City on Saturday and at home to Baroka on March 2.

Pamplemousses SC are from a village in the northern part of Mauritius called Belle Vue Harel, and play their home games at the 18 000-seater Anjalay Stadium. Henri Speville’s side barely threatened in the first leg, but could be a different proposition on home turf.

Hunt was certainly impressed by their performance in Johannesburg.

“They were tough, they were not scared for a Mauritian team,” he said.

“I have played a few and they are normally much weaker.”

If Wits can progress against Pamplemousses, they are likely to play Angola’s Primeiro de Agosto over two legs for a place in the Champions League group stages. Primeiro hold a 3-0 lead over Zimbabwe’s FC Platinum after the first leg of their preliminary qualifier.

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