Tears of joy for Clever Boys

Bidvest Wits owner Brian Joffe, right, celebrates with coach Gavin Hunt as Wits take the PSL title
after winning their Absa Premiership match against Polokwane City at the Bidvest Stadium
Picture: Gallo Images

Emotional Hunt describes Wits title victory as biggest highlight in his coaching career

It’s just crazy. But to do it with a club of this size and magnitude‚ I think it’s a great achievement

“This is the best one‚” Gavin Hunt exclaimed after winning his fourth league title and first for Bidvest Wits in their 96-year history with Wednesday night’s 2-0 Absa Premiership win against Polokwane City.

It is not often you will see a tough-as-nails‚ hard-to-please man like Hunt shed tears.

It said much of the effort the coach has put into building Wits into a force in South African football that Hunt could not hold back the tears in his post-match TV interview on an emotional night at the Bidvest Stadium.

After three seasons of being “nearly-men” under Hunt‚ finishing third‚ third and second in the league‚ and with no cup trophies‚ 2016-17 has paid back the dividends and then some for Wits with an MTN8 and PSL double.

In doing so‚ Hunt put to rest suggestions he had lost his league title-winning edge‚ joining Ted Dumitru and Gordon Igesund on four championships.

At 52‚ and with the drive as strong as ever for the ultra-competitive coach‚ there are surely more to come.

“This is the best one. Well‚ every one is the best one‚ isn’t it?” Hunt said‚ having recovered his characteristic gruff composure speaking to the media.

“It’s just crazy. But to do it with a club of this size and magnitude‚ I think it’s a great achievement.

“Like what I did with Seven Stars – for me that’s the greatest achievement ever in my life. To go unbeaten in 75 games.

“This for me is the biggest achievement‚ because taking a club of this size to win in South Africa is not easy.”

Asked about doubts that had been raised‚ compounded by being overlooked for the Bafana Bafana job yet again as Stuart Baxter was appointed this month‚ Hunt replied with his characteristic mix of sarcasm and dry‚ tothe-point humour.

“What do I know about football? I know less and less. Anyway – I’m not going to get involved here now. OK‚ can I go?”

Somewhat awkwardly deflected‚ but point made.

Wits have played an aggressive brand of front-foot‚ physical‚ technically proficient‚ percentage football that few teams could contend with in 2016-17.

It was almost a replica of the dominant SuperSport United Hunt guided to successive titles from 2008 to 2010.

Never pleased‚ Hunt said Wits could have wrapped up the title – going to 60 points‚ four clear of second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns‚ on Wednesday – earlier than with a game to spare.

“In December‚ we drew four games, we lost to Cape Town City here in the 90th minute.

“We should have been well clear, but‚ you know‚ we got ourselves back in the race. And any time you make 60 points and above you’ve done well.

“We could have done it much easier, but we’ve done it‚ so don’t worry about it – what’s gone is gone.” And Hunt has no plans to rest. Success breeds expectation‚ and he knows Wits will want more now they have had a taste of it.

“They [the club] are going to expect an improvement. That’s fine if you sign players.

“But I mean‚ we’ve got what we’ve got‚ and we’ll battle away.

“As long as we keep the mentality of‚ ‘Don’t get ahead of ourselves and battle away’‚ we can achieve.”

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