‘Clever Boys still in lower gear de­spite lead­ing’

Sunday World - - Sport - By Marc Stry­dom

Bid­vest Wits are yet to reach their po­ten­tial in 2018-2019‚ coach Gavin Hunt said af­ter his team had to fight hard to beat High­lands Park 1-0 at Bid­vest Sta­dium on Fri­day night.

The Clever Boys have their skip­per Thu­lani Hlatshwayo to thank af­ter his header from Kee­gan Ritchie’s free-kick in the 38th minute bagged them three points.

“I think there’s a lot of po­ten­tial. I think there are a lot of play­ers who haven’t played to their po­ten­tial yet‚” Hunt said.

It is an im­pres­sive turn­around from last sea­son’s night­mare start‚ hav­ing been 2016-2017 cham­pi­ons‚ which even­tu­ally cul­mi­nated in a 13th-place fin­ish.

With Wits quick out of the blocks this sea­son‚ and other ti­tle con­tenders still find­ing their rhythm‚ Hunt was asked if he would like to see his team out front with a healthy lead by Christ­mas.

“Jeez‚ I don’t want to think too far ahead. I think it’s im­por­tant that we get a bit of con­fi­dence back in the team.

“I think we took a psy­cho­log­i­cal ham­mer­ing last year. At this point last year we were bot­tom and we hadn’t won a game. So, at this point last year we took a bit of a psy­cho­log­i­cal bat­ter­ing‚ from where we were, hav­ing won two tro­phies the year be­fore,” he ex­plained.

“And then we ended up win­ning the tro­phy [last sea­son’s Telkom Knock­out] around this time last year‚ which is crazy.

“It just shows you how foot­ball is. But there’s a new vibe and new spirit‚ and that’s im­por­tant.”

Wits now turn their fo­cus to de­fend­ing their Telkom Knock­out tro­phy‚ meet­ing Maritzburg United in the quar­ter­fi­nals at Harry Gwala Sta­dium at the week­end.

/ Veli Nh­lapo

Bid­vest Wits coach Gavin Hunt.

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