The Star Early Edition

Amr has Hunt in a dilemma

‘If he stayed in the box he’d be bet­ter. He’s even got me talk­ing Ara­bic.”

- MAZOLA MOLEFE @su­per­journo

FOR the sec­ond time seven days, Bid­vest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has lamented his in­struc­tions to striker Amr Ga­mal be­ing lost in trans­la­tion.

The Clever Boys men­tor feels the Egyp­tian, on a sea­son-long loan from Al Ahly, would be much more clin­i­cal if he fol­lowed or­ders.

“He doesn’t un­der­stand me,” Hunt said fol­low­ing their Telkom Knock­out quar­ter­fi­nal win on Satur­day night, the pas­sage to the next round of the com­pe­ti­tions se­cured by Ga­mal’s soli­tary first half strike.

“He’s got a to­tally dif­fer­ent men­tal­ity to what he’s used to. There is one man and a dog watch­ing him here when he’s used to play­ing in front of 60 000 ev­ery week at Al Ahly. He is in the Egyp­tian World Cup squad.

“The play­ers around him are (Mo­hammed) Salah and these other guys. It’s a bit of a shock to the sys­tem com­ing here.”

But even with those dy­nam­ics and adapt­ing to a dif­fer­ent cul­ture as well as play­ing style, Ga­mal has shown he is pro­lific, hav­ing now scored five goals in 11 matches in all com­pe­ti­tions for Wits.

“But here you’ve got to work, my friend. I don’t have Salah and these other ones in mid­field that are go­ing to give you the ball on a plate like that. You’ve got to work a lit­tle bit harder here,” Hunt con­tin­ued.

“I think if he stayed in the box a lit­tle bit more he’d be much bet­ter. But he moves a lit­tle too much. He’s even got me talk­ing Ara­bic.”

The two have been seen in fre­quent deep dis­cus­sions dur­ing matches as Hunt tries to get his message across to the 26-year-old. But they of­ten ap­pear to be us­ing their hands to com­mu­ni­cate, giv­ing cre­dence to the coach’s point that his for­ward doesn’t yet un­der­stand him.

“He’s missed a lot of chances, like the one he missed against Baroka in our league game. My daugh­ter could have scored that. There was an­other one against Cape Town City in the semi­fi­nal of the MTN8,” Hunt said.

“But lis­ten, we need these type of play­ers. They bring a great men­tal­ity. At Al Ahly, their men­tal­ity is good. I think our play­ers can learn a lot from them. Maybe they can learn a lot from our move­ments, but he gives a lot to the team.”

Ga­mal was the club’s Man of the Match in their 4-2 win over hoodoo side Free State Stars two Satur­days ago in the open­ing round of the cup, scor­ing twice in an im­pres­sive dis­play.

It was af­ter that game that Hunt first noted that his striker still had a lot of work to do. The con­ver­sa­tion nat­u­rally came up again af­ter he net­ted the only goal of the game a week later against Baroka and was ap­plauded by just about the en­tire crowd when James Keene took his place in the 83rd minute.

Ga­mal’s chances of play­ing for Egypt at next year’s World Cup in Rus­sia also keep im­prov­ing with his form here. On Wednesday he was in­cluded in coach Hec­tor Cu­per’s squad to face Ghana in a dead-rub­ber World Cup qual­i­fier in Ku­masi on Novem­ber 12 .

The Pharaoh’s have al­ready booked their place at the tour­na­ment as one of Africa’s five par­tic­i­pants.

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