Hunt not getting carried away


It’s classic gamesmanship, but also an honest assessment given that the Premier Soccer League 2016/17 season is only two games in following their Absa Premiership win over Chiefs and another one against the Buccaneers in the MTN8 quarter-finals, when Hunt had initially moaned about having to face those two teams - and league champions Mamelodi Sundowns - in his first six matches of the new campaign.

When asked what the back-to-back victories meant for Wits, the coach gave reporters a thousand-yard stare, suggesting it was way too early to start harping on about the Clever Boys being the team to beat.

However, Hunt will know the kind of week his men have had is one that has definitely set the tone if they are to challenge for any silverware, beginning with the MTN8.

Wits beat Amakhosi 2-1 in their league opener at Bidvest Wits four days before putting their Soweto rivals Pirates to the sword with the same scoreline and at the same venue in the cup to progress to the semi-finals.

“Do you know what happens to people who win the top eight? Just go back in history,” said Hunt, in a comment that sparks a fresh debate about how the MTN8 is some sort of bad omen.

Ajax Cape Town, last season’s champions, endured such a downward spiral after clinching the competition nearly 12 months ago and they were unable to finish the season in the top eight bracket, a position that would have allowed them to defend their title.

“It’s not that we don’t want to win a trophy, but our focus is the next game. There is still a lot of football to be played. This team did well against Chiefs and then against Pirates, but we are a small horse needing a little bit of water. We have played two games. The team will be tested as the months go on and the problem for us, and everybody else, is that we are not going to play now for two weeks (because of the Fifa international break),” Hunt explained.

Meanwhile, his Pirates counterpart Muhsin Ertugral was left full of regret for backing goalkeeper Felipe Ovono, who gifted Wits their two goals - scored by defenders Buhle Mkhwanazi and captain Thulani Hlatshwayo - as a result of his costly howlers.

For a second consecutive match, the coach picked the error-prone Equatorial Guinea international ahead of Brighton Mhlongo and Jackson Mabokgwane, who are generally viewed as better keepers, and Ovono was mostly the difference in Pirates winning or losing on Saturday night.

“I have to shoulder the blame because it was my decision to pick him,” said Ertugral, who has now missed an opportunity for an early season trophy in his first year with the club.

“They played long balls all the time and that is really not his game and he lost confidence as the game went on. But he is not the only one responsible because our defensive line was also not good. We should have also scored a second goal when Tendai (Ndoro) went clean through on goal late in the second half.

“I am disappointed, obviously. I think our goal (a 16th minute penalty by Oupa Manyisa) came too early, if the game went on a bit longer at 0-0 it would have been a different story, I think.” - The Star

Follow Mazola Molefe on Twitter@superjourno

Original source: Hunt not getting carried away