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South Africa’s Gavin Hunt condemns Telkom KO final venue – ABSA Premiership 2017/18

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South Africa's Gavin Hunt condemns Telkom KO final venue

Head Coach Gavin Hunt of Bidvest Wits during 2017 Telkom Knockout Bidvest Wits Training at Stir rock Park in Braamfontein South Africa on 28 November 2017 © Aubrey Kgakatsi /BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Nov 29, 2017. 19:30


Ahead of the South African Telkom Knockout final against Bloemfontein Celtic, Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has lambasted the quality of the pitch at Princess Magogo Stadium.

The Clever Boys mentor believes the pitch is not in tip top quality, but hopes the weather will be suitable for a good game of football.

Hunt revealed that they sent a team representatives to inspect the pitch at the KwaMashu Stadium this week.

“Shew‚ shew‚ shew. Listen‚ it is what it is. We’ve got to concentrate on the rules and play football,” said the coach.

“But it is a bit‚ it is a bit…you know. It threw everybody a curve ball‚ didn’t it? It was like‚ ‘Yuh‚ OK’.

“The pitch has been dug up last week because there were teams training on it in the rain. So the pitch is not great.

“We saw it, we went there yesterday to have a look at it – it’s an open area. So please God the weather is good.”

The 12000-seater venue will host a major cup final for the first time on Saturday at 18:00 (CAT).

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Gavin Hunt relieved to have first-choice defence back

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Gavin Hunt relieved to have first-choice defence back

Gavin Hunt, coach of Bidvest Wits instructs his players during the 2014 Telkom Knockout Bidvest Wits Media Day at Sturrock Park on the 30 September 2014

by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Nov 28, 2017. 18:30


Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has expressed his relief at having his first-choice defence back ahead of this weekend’s Telkom Knockout final.

The Clever Boys have endured a terrible Absa Premiership campaign thus far, claiming just nine points from 11 matches to sit at the bottom of the log.

Yet the reassembly of the back four of Buhle Mkhwanazi, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Nazeer Allie and Sifiso Hlanti – who played together for the first time this season in a goalless draw at Maritzburg United this past weekend – has given Hunt a glimmer of hope.

The foursome are expected to be picked in Wits’ XI when they face Bloemfontein Celtic in the final of the Telkom Knockout on Saturday evening.

“This is the first time… this season… that I had my defence back. Nobody else in this whole league has gone through what I have gone through,” said Hunt in the wake of the stalemate, as quoted by Kick-Off.

“Nazeer Allie played his first game [since playing against Baroka in the Telkom Knockout quarterfinals on November 4]. ‘Tyson’ Hlatshwayo played his first game [since November 4]. Buhle has been out for six months. So we had our defence back that won us the league last season.

“What happens? Clean sheet, hallelujah, simple. So I’ve been hammered, I have taken an absolute hammering, and rightly so, but the guys who came in have been good.

“But once we get our defence back, which we got them back today, we look much better. Now we got a platform to play, you understand what I’m saying.

“Why five changes in this game? Well, we were playing six at the back the last game [against Mamelodi Sundowns last week Tuesday] and now we got four players, which will help us on how we play normally. The rest of the team takes shape off what you got.”

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Gavin Hunt praises Pitso Mosimane ahead of Wits-Sundowns showdown – ABSA Premiership 2017/18

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Gavin Hunt praises Pitso Mosimane ahead of Wits-Sundowns showdown

Gavin Hunt, coach of Bidvest Wits ©Samuel Shivambu/Backpagepix

by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Nov 21, 2017. 14:00


Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has praised Mamelodi Sundowns counterpart Pitso Mosimane ahead of tonight’s Absa Premiership showdown between the teams.

The Clever Boys will host the Brazilians for the pick of three league clashes tonight. Wits come into the game having eliminated Kaizer Chiefs from the Telkom Knockout this past weekend, while Sundowns have had an extended period to prepare.

Hunt admits that he would have preferred points on the board rather than a strong cup run, following his team’s poor start to the defence of their league title, but reckons winning games is a good sign regardless.

“As I’ve said, [from] all these cup games you’d want to have league points, wouldn’t you? It will help us, but football is what it is and hopefully we can just get a little bit [of points] this week and have a smile about the place,” said Hunt.

“We know the task on Tuesday, against a very good side – a good squad of players. Pitso has done well there. We know what we’re up against and we’re just going to have to battle through this period with what we’ve got.”

The Wits coach also believes it’s a tough period for his side, who played Chiefs last Saturday, face Sundowns tonight and will then travel to the KwaZulu-Natal for a third game within a week when they take on Maritzburg United.

“Obviously the problem is you’re playing against Sundowns on Tuesday and we played [on Saturday] – that makes a big difference,” he explained.

“By the time you play your third game in a week, that team has only played their second game and, with our squad the way it is – with nothing coming back [from injury], it’s a problem.”

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Hunt: Claasen is still adapting at Bidvest Wits – ABSA Premiership 2017/18

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Hunt: Claasen is still adapting at Bidvest Wits

Daylon Claasen of Bidvest Wits is challenged by Robyn Johannes of Cape Town City during the Absa Premiership match between Bidvest Wits and Cape Town City on the 18 August 2017 at Bidvest Stadium © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Sep 19, 2017. 12:00


Bidvest Wits head coach Gavin Hunt says he is happy with how Steven Pienaar and Daylon Claasen have performed at the Johannesburg-based side.

The two attacking midfielders are yet to make any impact at the reigning South African champions since joining the club three months ago.

Pienaar, 35, and Claasen, 27, joined the Clever Boys as free agents after parting ways with English side Sunderland and German club 1860 Munich respectively.

The South African midfielders have walked straight into the Wits starting line-up, but the team is yet to win a competitive match in 90 minutes this season.

The Absa Premiership champions collected their second point of the season from four games when they fought back to hold Kaizer Chiefs to a 1-1 stalemate at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.

“As you know, we lost one or two players from last season, so we obviously brought a guy like Steven in and I think he’s been hugely influential in the dressing room,” Hunt told the media.

“I mean, he hasn’t got the legs anymore, but the brain moves and you saw tonight. I thought he was excellent under difficult circumstances – having gone a man down.

“I was thinking, ‘I need to take him out’ but then I tried to keep him going for as long as I could,” the four-time Absa Premiership title winning coach continued.

“Daylon also didn’t play much football last season, I’m also trying to find out where he plays in the different systems or whatever you want to call it.

“That also takes a little bit of time. Synergy takes time, you know, those types of things… But both of them have been excellent in training, good professionals, good ambassadors for the club, and good people – that’s more important.”

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Gavin Hunt: Time for our big players to step up – MTN8 2017

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by
Graeme Jackson

Saturday Sep 09, 2017. 14:00


Bidvest Wits’ ‘big players’ must step up for today’s MTN8 semifinal, second leg clash against Cape Town City, according to coach Gavin Hunt.

Wits, the reigning MTN8 champs, are looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit after losing the first leg in Cape Town last month.

The Clever Boys, who also won the Absa Premiership title last season, have had a tough start to the 2017/18 campaign, with teams looking to claim their scalp.

“Any game we play teams will want to [try and outplay us]… I mean, we played Golden Arrows and they were unbelievable, Free State Stars were like men possessed,” Hunt said at the club’s media day earlier in the week.

“That’s what we’re going to get. When you play against a team that has won the league, people will have extra motivation.

“But once we start settling in, and we start playing two to three games a week, I think we’ll see a lot of things happening. Then teams can’t keep that intensity up every game.”

Hunt added that he welcomes the new demands on his team and hopes to see a response from them, starting with today’s match.

“There’s definitely [added pressure on us], it’s always like that and so it should be. You want that pressure, don’t you? We want that,” he added.

“We’ve got big players who can handle the situation, it’s a matter of the big players stepping up a little more and that’s pretty much what it’s about.”

The Wits v City match at Bidvest Stadium will kick-off at 15h00 CAT.

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Good for CT City that Hunt will be in stands – McCarthy – ABSA Premiership 2017/18

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Good for CT City that Hunt will be in stands - McCarthy

Gavin Hunt, coach of Bidvest Wits ©Samuel Shivambu/Backpagepix

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Aug 17, 2017. 13:00


Gavin Hunt’s absence from the touchline for the match between Bidvest Wits and Cape Town City is good news for the latter team, according to coach Benni McCarthy.

The Wits mentor – who gave McCarthy his professional debut as a 17-year-old at Seven Stars – will have to watch the clash from the stands after earning a two-game ban for being sent off in his side’s MTN8 quarterfinal with Golden Arrows last weekend.

“Good for us, very good for us. I was hoping they lose a couple more players with the send offs,” McCarthy said in regards to the fiery clash between Wits and Arrows, as quoted by KickOff.

“It was a really strange one, [but] they ain’t the champions for nothing. You see 2-0 down with ten men they were still able to win the game, it just shows the character.

“But it’s because they got for me probably the best coach in the league. That team is drilled properly, we will have to bring our A-game if we are to get something against Wits.

“They have the experience, they are a big side, and they rely a lot on set-pieces but they can also play. I think they surprise people with how they play, they have got players that are comfortable on the ball.

“So I think we will have to tighten the screws a little better, but yeah I think we will be prepared for Wits. They won’t have ‘Hunty’ on the bench, so it’s good for me.

“So I don’t have to face ‘coachie’ when there’s an altercation I have to settle. So at least now I can do it with the assistant coach, which for me is no problem.”

The match at Bidvest Stadium will kick-off at 20h00 CAT on Friday night.

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