3 months ago
GAVIN: WIN AT ALL COSTS!
Benni McCarthy and Gavin Hunt will go toe-to-toe again in the MTN8 semifinal first leg in Tshwane. Photo: Backpagepix  ~ 

COACHING doesn’t happen on match day, it’s done at training.

So says Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt as he returns to his usual spot on the bench following a two-match ban.

Wits travel to the Cape Town Stadium for a crunch MTN8 Cup semifinal, first leg tie against Cape Town City on Sunday (3pm), the second match between the two sides in just over a week.

The reigning PSL Coach of the Season was left frustrated about not being able to micro-manage every aspect of the last two leagues games, having taken a back seat as his team lost 1-0 to the same City team and were held to a 2-2 draw by Free State Stars.

Yet Hunt does not believe his absence had a big impact, insisting that as long as the tactics are right and the technical team and players get the message, the coach can more or less complete his job before the game, without getting too involved in the match.

“Yes, it’s very frustrating. But the coaching and all the preparations are done days before the game,” Hunt explained.

“As a coach I just reiterate what needs to be done on match day. People think we coach on match day. But the truth is if you coach on match day, you will have a problem.”

Hunt was shown red for his choice of words during the drama-filled MTN8 encounter against Golden Arrows and was left watching anxiously from the tunnel as Wits sneaked past their opponents.

He also watched from the stands as the Students failed to snatch the win in their first league match at Goble Park midweek.

But he’s eyeing success in the top eight to build some crucial early season momentum.

It certainly won’t be easy seeing off the Citizens, who are already emerging as the biggest competition to the big sides this season.

They have won three matches so far this season and seem to have picked up where they left off in last season’s fairy-tale run.

Benni McCarthy’s Citizens have their tails up following their confidence-boosting victories over Platinum Stars (3-1) and the very same Wits (1-0) in the league. They kicked off their dream start to the 2017-18 season with a 1-0 triumph over Polokwane City in the MTN8 quarterfinals to qualify for the semis.

All eyes are now on 39-year-old former West Ham United, Blackburn Rovers, Porto and Celta Vigo star McCarthy. Supporters will find out on Sunday whether Hunt can stop the onslaught or whether McCarthy will be able to pull off a double against his former mentor.

But Hunt says they haven’t been playing badly: “A win will certainly help us build momentum. It’s obviously a big match against a team that’s doing well. Benni has had a good start but there’s still a long, long way to go for the team.”

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