Soccer

Hunt happy to finally have title winning defence back

Cape Town – Head coach Gavin Hunt feels that the return of several first-choice defenders should see Bidvest Wits improve their form.

The Students have made a terrible start to their league title defence, and currently lie bottom of the table with only two wins from 11 games. During this time, they have leaked 15 goals and scored just six. Only Maritzburg United, with five goals, have scored fewer.

The likes of Buhle Mkhwanazi and Nazeer Allie have been side-lined with injury this season, as has Thulani Hlatshwayo (for a couple of games) and goalkeeper Darren Keet.

But in the Clever Boys' last game – a 0-0 draw away to Maritzburg – Mkhwanazi and Allie lined up alongside Sifiso Hlanti and Hlatshwayo in what was Hunt's first-choice rear-guard for most of last-season's title winning campaign.

Despite the lack of goals up front, Hunt believes a fully-fit defence will make all the difference.

"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," he was quoted saying by KickOffwith regard to the Maritzburg match.

"Nazeer Allie played his first game [since 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."

Hunt concedes though it's going to be very tough for his side to defend their title and feels the league trophy may end up in Pretoria.

"Generally you can't lose more than five games, generally and we've lost six," he said.

"We can't be concerned about that now. We are only concerned about getting ourselves in a better position.

"I think teams like SuperSport United who have played five games, 10 points, they're going to be big favourites to win the league and Mamelodi Sundowns, who have got the best squad of players in the country. They are going to be looking at winning the league, those two teams."

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