Hunt hopes for fresh start for Wits

FILE PICTURE: Gavin Hunt. Picture: Chris Ricco/Backpagepix.

FILE PICTURE: Gavin Hunt. Picture: Chris Ricco/Backpagepix.

Wits hopes to put the disappointment of their MTN8 exit behind them with a fresh start at the Telkom Knockout on Friday night.

The team, dubbed the “Clever Boys” welcome Moroka Swallows to the Bidvest Stadium in Braamfontein at 8pm with coach Gavin Hunt believing a fresh start in a new competition could prove to be a catalyst for the Johannesburg outfit.

Successive semi-final defeats to Orlando Pirates sent Wits crashing out of the top eight competition with a whimper, losing 2-0 and 3-1, home and away.

“We are now in a new cup, the Telkom Cup, which is important,” Hunt said of the season’s second cup competition.

“You can go three games and you are in the final, so it’s good and we are playing at home. We have to go out there and push for a win.”

The former SuperSport United tactician guided Wits to a comfortable 3-0 win over Swallows in the league a little over a month ago.

Goals from Sameehg Doutie and Getaneh Kebede handed Wits their biggest win of the season on a freezing night in Johannesburg as the Birds disappeared without a trace.

The defeat was the first of three on the trot for Swallows, who head into the game having not won since August 26.

Their coach Zeca Marques appears to be feeling the pressure after making a solid start to the 2014/15 campaign — winning three of their opening four Premiership fixtures — but has since failed to replicate the form which saw them rocket to the top of the league after two games.

A leaky defence will be Marques’ biggest concern. The Soweto outfit have conceded 14 goals in seven games, an area in which Hunt will be keen to inflict further pain.

But for the four-time Premier Soccer League Coach of the Year, more time spent on the pitch appears to be his main focus.

“We need to be playing games, and if we get knocked out of this then we won’t be playing much over the next few weeks, so it’s important we get through [to the next round],” Hunt said.

“The most important thing for me is to get eight or nine players tied down as regular starters, and I think I’m closer to that now, but it also causes me problems because we have a good squad.

“We’ve got a bunch of new players. We need to gel them.”

Wits were boosted last week with the return of first-choice goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs, who made his first appearance of the season last weekend against AmaZulu.

The former Orlando Pirates shot-stopper kept a clean sheet and looks in good form, following a pre-season injury which kept him on the sidelines for more than a month.

He’s been good for me, I knew him as a young boy at 17 with Cape Town Spurs. I know him well and he’s only got better now,” Hunt said of his gloveman.

“We lost him due to a leg injury. He’s come back stronger and we wish him well.”


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