The official PSL season kicks off on Tuesday evening with the MTN8 quarter-finals getting the ball rolling. Bidvest Wits welcome SuperSport United in Milpark in what should be a good advertisement of attacking football. Wits coach Gavin Hunt, now in his third season with The Clever Boys, will be under a certain level of pressure to produce some sort of silverware this season.
By his high standards, Hunt has been a perennial underachiever since his move from Matsatsantsa. The three-time league winner knows that he has to start winning trophies, considering the big amounts of money that the club has spent in the last couple of seasons. Asked if he will be prioritising any tournament in particular, he said it was important to hit the ground running: ‘For so much money in a competition like this, surely we prioritise the first game which is the cup game, and it will be no different for SuperSport.’
It is also personally important for the Wits coach to do well in this tournament, having been eluded by the top 8 scalp in his impressive coaching record. His opposite number Gordon Igesund will also be looking to launch a serious challenge for trophies this coming season. Igesund joined United at the beginning of last season, and his was just to get the team over troubled waters.
He did well in just a few months at the helm, delivering the Telkom Knockout trophy. The former Bafana Bafana boss will look to build on that, and what better way to do that than with the very first cup on offer? Igesund says: ‘This top 8 competition is very great you know. It’s important to win our first game so that we get an opportunity to play two more games and obviously start getting going.’
No other South African coach has had more league success than Igesund and Hunt, with seven titles between them. While the latter impressively masterminded three successive league triumphs in his days in the capital, Igesund did it four times with four different clubs. This just goes to show what sort of tacticians these two gentlemen are, and their skills will be on display in this clash at the Bidvest Stadium.
A plus for the Johannesburg side will be the acquisition of Dane Klate, who spent the second half of last season with the Pretoria outfit. His combination with Gavin Hunt has yielded dividends in years gone by, and they’ll be hoping to forge that successful understanding again. It will not be easy to get right straight away, with a determined Gordon Igesund and his SuperSport United in their way.