BIDVEST Wits play their first match of the 2011/12 Absa Premiership season on Sunday.
The team will hope to put last weekend’s MTN 8 quarter-final loss to Kaizer Chiefs in the past and move on quickly when they travel to Harry Gwala Stadium to face Maritzburg United.
Despite the 2-1 knockout defeat against Amakhosi at FNB Stadium, the Clever Boys displayed great attacking football with danger-man Bhongolwethu Jayiya’s skill and pace causing all sorts of problems for the Chief’s backline in the game’s opening minutes.
Wits stunned Chiefs by taking the lead in the 11th minute through a headed goal by new signing, Sboniso Gumede, after a floated Jayiya corner kick.
Nine minutes later Gumede went from hero to villain by conceding a penalty with an ill-timed tackle on Mandla Masango in the 18-yard box. Amakhosi striker Bernard Parker, on his official debut, slotted the spot-kick into the bottom corner giving Wits keeper Emile Baron no chance of saving.
Chiefs then scored their second goal, and the match winner, four minutes before half-time through Masango who received a brilliant chipped pass from Lehlogonolo Majoro after good interplay by the Chiefs front players.
Despite a few minor errors at the back, Wits coach Roger De Sa will be pleased with the team’s progress so far and hope to keep the attacking momentum displayed by the team at the weekend into Sunday’s game.
Wits will need to create more clear-cut scoring opportunities than they did against Chiefs if they stand any chance of overcoming Maritzburg United and bagging three points. The Students will be boosted by the return of striker Sibusiso Vilakazi to training this week after being forced to sit out in previous games through injury.
Getting the season off to a winning start will be a priority for both teams, and the very competitive match will be played at a high tempo. This fixture produced a 1-1 draw last season, but it is Maritzburg United which has the upper hand after having beaten Wits 2-1 at Bidvest Stadium in their second fixture in the latter stages of the season.