S'Busiso Mseleku

Wits - When a plan comes together

2017-05-26 14:34
S’Busiso Mseleku (File)

No one would disagree with Bidvest Wits FC boss Brian Joffe if he quoted 1980s action-adventure television series character, Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith - played by George Peppard - that “I love it when a plan comes together.”

Joffe’s conquests as a shrewd businessman are well-documented.

It was this vision and passion that saw him add multiple-league title-winning coach Gavin Hunt to his arsenal.

And anyone who can accuse Wits, Joffe or Hunt of overnight success, would be smoking something stronger than their socks.

Before this season’s achievement - which puts Hunt right up there with Gordon Igesund and the late Ted Dumitru with four league titles under their belt - "Hunty's" side had finished third twice and came a close second last season.

And this is no new territory for coach Hunt, having won three consecutive league titles with SuperSport United, a mean feat if ever there was one in South African football.

Over the years, Hunt has mastered the art of horses for courses by signing players who are not exactly stars at their clubs but who can do the job under his tutelage.

So it was that last week’s achievement, as the 32-year-old Dane Klate put it, boiled down to “teamwork”.

The modest Port Elizabeth-born Klate refused to take all credit after bagging his sixth league title, making him an all-time great.

He has also collected an amazing eight gold medals in cup competitions in four MTN8s that include an SAA Supa 8 before the name change; three Nedbank Cups which also includes an Absa Cup before it was renamed and one Telkom Knockout.

Teamwork was indeed the key and how Hunt picked his players because the Wits squad boasted multiple league title winners in Elias Pelembe and Siboniso Gaxa, central defender Bongani Khumalo - who tasted league success with Hunt at SuperSport United - and Moeneeb Josephs who was a league champion with Orlando Pirates in the past.

Before Wednesday night’s achievement, Michael Manzini and Andre Arendse held the record of the most league titles - five - won by an individual player.

Only former Durban City and Kaizer Chiefs legend Neil Tovey has won six league titles in any era but with six league titles and eight cup medals, Klate becomes the most decorated player in the domestic league since the birth of the PSL in 1996.

And true to form, no sooner had Wits been declared league champions, social media platforms were abuzz, questioning why Hunt was not made national team coach.

Once more, I dare say success in the domestic league, with a club, is not a guaranteed recipe that a coach will be successful with a national team.

The national team is a completely different animal all together, if in doubt, ask Pitso Mosimane or even another four-league-title-winning coach Igesund.

Hunt should just go on doing what he does and leave the national team alone, lest it destroys him and turn his praise-singers to his worst critics.

Congratulations should also go to Eric Tinkler and Cape Town City who have won the Absa Premiership Q4 (fourth quarter) and thus bagging R1.5m.

The PSL newcomers, who are hardly a year old, have indeed punched above their weight this season.

Well done!

S'Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning over 30 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

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Read more on:    wits  |  psl  |  s’busiso mseleku  |  soccer


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