Bidvest Wits again failed to make it to a cup final after it was edged out of the MTN8 by Ajax Cape Town in a two-legged semi-final by a 2-1 aggregate score. This result mounts more pressure on coach Gavin Hunt, who has been on a trophy drought since his move to Milpark two years ago. As expected, Hunt was considerably rude to journalists after their second leg clash at the Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg.
In response to the sending off of right fullback Siyabonga Nhlapo, a visibly irritated Hunt barked sarcastically: ‘No the red card never changed the game. What do you think? Of course it changed the game. There was no game after that was there.’ He bemoaned the lack of consistency from the match officials, saying his opposition’s goalkeeper should also have been sent off in the first leg after cluttering into Henrico Botes.
This being his third season at Wits, the three-time league winner will be feeling the heat from his bosses to win some sort of silverware especially with the amount of money that has been pumped in by Bidvest Bank. The Clever Boys boast one of the most expensively assembled squads in the country, and with star players like Daine Klate and Elias Pelembe recently roped in, it was expected that they would at least get to the final.
Hunt also took a swipe at the media regarding the transfer cloud hanging over Sibusiso Vilakazi’s head: ‘No comment. The story has been blown out of proportion. He’s staying.’ Although he said the talented midfielder-cum-striker is staying, he did say the he’s their player ‘until 5pm tomorrow’, referring to the transfer window that closes on Monday. This statement suggests that he is not fully confident, and prompts one to keep a close eye on this one.
Meanwhile, his opposite number Roger De Sa was full of praise for his young team for making it to their second cup final in succession. Ajax will contest the final against defending champions Kaizer Chiefs, having come narrowly short against Mamelodi Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup final only in May. De Sa commented: ‘Yeah of course that was the objective all the time. To go as far as you can. Something we started last year already and to reach a cup final with 10 academy boys, 11 if you count Moeneeb. Very happy, very proud.’
The final of the MTN 8 will be played on the 19th of September at a venue to be confirmed on Monday by the PSL.