With Wits trailing against Chippa United in a game they managed to only share the spoils thanks to a Sibusiso Vilakazi leveler that cancelled out Thamsanqa Sangweni’s first half goal, Hunt opted for Joachim Lupeta - a man who has been less convincing in his ability upfront - instead of Keene.
The Englishman has bagged seven league goals from 11 matches since arriving at Wits in January. He was completely left out of their 2-0 win over SuperSport United last week Tuesday and was an unused substitute in Saturday’s stalemate against Chippa at the Bidvest Stadium, a result which crippled their title pursuit after Sundowns beat Kaizer Chiefs 3-1 later that night. The Brazilians need a win and a draw from their remaining three matches to claim the championship.
“He’s got 60 percent movement in the leg and has a problem in his knee. He hasn’t really trained,” explained Hunt when asked why he would not risk an unfit Keene - even for the last few minutes of the match in an attempt to reduce the gap between Wits and Sundowns. “So, I thought we should get someone (Lupeta) who can run in behind (the defenders). I was proved right because he got in the right positions, but missed with a header on the goal-line.”
Keene took the Premier League by storm shortly after signing for Wits as a free agent, having been snubbed by Chiefs last season when Stuart Baxter was still in charge. Baxter knew the forward from their time in Sweden, albeit with different clubs. Keene scored five goals in his first five league matches and was no doubt a boost to the Clever Boys’ title aspirations.
“He is not fit. I’ve got a game (tomorrow against Mpumalanga Black Aces in Nelspruit), and we are struggling upfront, so I’ve got to rotate between him (Keene), Henrico Botes and the other one (Lupeta). It’s disappointing, but that is all we’ve got,” said Hunt. “We threw in everything and should have won 3-1. We had a penalty denied and we shouldn’t be missing from f****** one yard. I would have lost the balance of the team if I threw in James in the last few minutes.”
A win for Wits away to Aces will guarantee them second-place in the Premier League as well as a CAF Champions League place next season, but it now looks unlikely that they will be crowned champions, although their victory will put Sundowns, who face neighbours University of Pretoria on Wednesday, under some kind of pressure. The two then face-off a week later and Wits might have to form a guard of honour for the new kings of the Premier League.
“But you never know, anything can happen,” said Hunt. - The Star
Original source: Is the hunt over for Wits?