Gavin Hunt waxes lyrical about splendid Kwakman

FILE PICTURE: Kees Kwakman during the Bidvest Wits media open day at Sturrock Park on July 29, 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images)

After seeing his Dutch acquisition in action for the first time on Wednesday, Wits coach Gavin Hunt has touted Kees Kwakman as the coup of the transfer window and predicts a “stunning display” from his lanky defender.

Kwakman joined on a one-year deal from Dutch Eredivisie outfit NAC Breda in July, after spending more than 10 seasons with a host of clubs in the Netherlands’ top league.

“Kwakman is a quality player. He’ll be a star in this league, he’ll only get better,” Hunt said after Kwakman completed his first game for the Clever Boys, playing a full 90 minutes.

Lauded for his organisation and professionalism in defence, Kwakman took no prisoners and often cleared the lines as Wits edged Maritzburg United 1-0 at Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday.

Hunt revealed that he was surprised at the ease at which Wits signed Kwakman, who joined for free and becomes the second Dutch defender to join the Premier Soccer League, hot on the heels of last season’s sensation Alje Schut.

“He was free. If you go to Europe, you can get players at half the price than you do in South Africa and 10 times better,” Hunt said.

“We have to do that because the local market is dead. Schut knows him, I found out and asked a few questions of Schut.

“You get the player for half the price than you do for a player here.”

But according to Hunt, the hero of the deal was former striker Glen Salmon, who persuaded the former SuperSport United mentor to snap up a highly-rated Kwakman, who was also linked with a move to Mamelodi Sundowns.

“Glen Salmon was instrumental. Glen played in Holland for [eight] years, so he knows the market there,” Hunt said.

Meanwhile, Kwakman shared his experiences of playing against South African Thulani Serero, who plays for Ajax Amsterdam, and is widely regarded as the country’s top talent.

“One of my last games at my old club was against Serero. I was playing as a left midfielder, and he was playing right midfielder, so it was a big clash actually,” Kwakman said after the game.

“I was jumping around and running around so it was a hard game for me but we drew, it was good for us.

“I played a couple of times against him.”

Another South African making waves in the Netherlands is Kamohelo Mokotjo, who recently signed for top side FC Twente, following a stellar season with PEC Zwolle.

“I also played against Mokotjo. He had a fantastic year at Zwolle and that’s why he made the transfer now.

“I think he deserves to be in the squad for South Africa because he played terrifically.”


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