Wits beef up squad for new season

Gavin Hunt, Coach of Bidvest Wits celebrates a victory during the 2018 Telkom Knockout quarterfinal match between Maritzburg United and Bidvest Wits at Harry Gwala Stadium, Durban on 03 November 2018 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Bidvest Wits have moved quickly to refresh their squad in a determined bid to challenge even more strongly for the Premiership title in the new season.

Last season, the Clever Boys could only manage a third-placed finish on the league standings – behind champions Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates – and coach Gavin Hunt has now beefed up the squad with some interesting acquisitions.

There are also plans to strengthen the squad even further before the new league campaign kicks off in August.

Hunt, who joined Wits in 2013 with the sole purpose of winning the league title, duly did so when the Johannesburg team swept to championship glory in the 2016-17 season.

They, unfortunately, have not been able to follow on from that success, which is why Hunt is keen on rebuilding his squad.

The challenge in the PSL is quite evident: if any team wants to break the dominance of Sundowns, they are going to need depth, quality and a lot, lot more.

With this in mind, Hunt has allowed the players not required by the team to move on, like Daylon Claasen, Vuyo Mere, Lehlohonolo Majoro, Bantu Mzwakali and Denis Weidlich.

Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Darren Keet, who will be in action for the SA squad at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations underway in Egypt, will also not be in Wits colours next season.

The Capetonian has decided not to renew his contract and will seek to continue his career in Europe.

Coming into the Wits squad this season will be Brandon Petersen, Prince Nxumalo and Phathutshedzo Nange.

Petersen, a promising 24-year-old goalkeeper, as well as goal-poacher Nxumalo were signed from Ajax Cape Town, and Nange from Black Leopards.

Hunt is also keen on another Leopards player, Ivan Mahangwahaya, while Togo defender Joseph Douhadji is also on the club’s shopping list.

Meanwhile, reports also suggest that two former Pirates and Sundowns players – Sameehg Doutie and Siyanda Zwane – have both been training with Wits.

Zwane has been on the books of Sundowns for the last few years, but spent most of the spell on loan to clubs like Golden Arrows and Ajax Cape Town.

Doutie came through the Ajax Cape Town academy, but has been out of the country for the last few seasons at clubs in India and Sweden.

Whether it’s just a keep-fit exercise, or whether Hunt is looking at the experienced duo with a view to possible contracts, only time will tell.

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