Absa Premiership

Wits' ticket to the top

2015-03-26 13:55
Gavin Hunt (Supplied)

Cape Town - It seems unthinkable now that there were those he criticised the decision to hire Gavin Hunt at Wits, but those dissenting voices have been in serious decline over the past few months.

Read: Chabangu to become a Student

Hunt deserves tremendous credit. It's his own innate mix of abilities which have ensured Wits' constant, visible progression, moving from an inconsistent unit to the current iteration: a mentally strong, attack-minded team.

A constant message from Hunt from day one has been that the team will continue to improve, evolve and become more confident in the work they do.

Changes were still needed. Changes were made, too; swiftly and without recourse to reputation or personnel reaction. Those left out or who switched positions needed to get on board. This is the way Wits are playing - either be a part of it or don't.

Hunt has always preached the need to play at a high tempo, to press the opposition and to make life as difficult as possible for them. He can take credit for one part of the team in particular: the improvement of those who were there before him. He inherited a team that had potential that showed flashes of impressive form, but one that lacked real structure to make the most of its talents.

Sibusiso Vilakazi has hit greater heights than ever before. Natural improvement, or the effects of a man-manager bringing the best out of an immense talent? Likely a little of both, but it's also the boss who structures the team to suit Vilakazi's style and lets him play within the framework with enough freedom to showcase that unnerving quality, game after game.

Systems and set-ups have changed with a regularity which could be called panicky and haphazard, were it not done with a critical, calculated and ever-improving eye for detail yielding positive results week after week.

A back three, two up top, 1-2 and 2-1 midfields and even a diamond midfield. The shape changes, the roles of players within the framework of the team alter subtly, but everything is done with two aims in mind: stop the opposition playing in dangerous areas, and make the most of the talent on the pitch.

Rapid transitions are fundamental to the good work Wits do in the final third, and all that stems from Hunt's absolute tenets: press hard, pass with intelligence, use pace and space.

Wits don't have one system, one formation, one blueprint. In-game management is something the manager has alluded to, and it's something he himself is getting better at.

Substitutions and squad depth do not always allow it to happen to the extent he wants, though.

There are those coaches famed for tactical discipline or for an unyielding personality, for bringing fantastic flowing football to the pitch or for getting every last ounce of effort and ability out of the players at their disposal.

Hunt has caressed and cajoled, protected and lambasted, altered, switched, twisted and stuck until he found a combination of players which suited his vision and which yielded points.

Can Hunt and his scouting team recruit the players to not only add depth but increased quality to cope on multiple fronts?

He may or may not lead Wits to the PSL title this season, but the fact that Wits are even as big a part of the conversation as they are at this stage of the season means Hunt deserves endless credit for a job extremely well done so far.

Read more on:    bidvest wits  |  psl  |  gavin hunt  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Free State Stars v SuperSport United, Goble Park 19:30
Mamelodi Sundowns v Maritzburg United, Loftus Versfeld Stadium 19:30
Friday, 15 December 2017
Cape Town City FC v AmaZulu FC, Cape Town Stadium 20:00
Saturday, 16 December 2017
Mamelodi Sundowns v Bloemfontein Celtic, Loftus Versfeld Stadium 15:30
Chippa United v Polokwane City, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 15:30
Free State Stars v Orlando Pirates, Goble Park 18:00
Wits v Platinum Stars, Bidvest Stadium 20:15
Kaizer Chiefs v Ajax Cape Town, Moses Mabhida Stadium 20:15
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Do you think SAFA made the right choice in appointing Stuart Baxter as head coach of Bafana Bafana?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.