SOCCER: Hunt praises Wits ‘kids’ after CAF debut


PLAYER OF THE FUTURE: Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt praised the performance of Markus Lecki, one of the new signings for the team. Photo: Nqobile Dludla.

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt was full of praise for his newly signed players after The Clever Boys tamed Swaziland’s Royal Leopards in the CAF Confederations Cup first leg at the Bidvest Stadium on Saturday.

The game, which saw Wits win 3-0, was led by the young debutants while the big names like Sibusiso Vilakazi,  Onismor Bhasera, Fatty Papy, Thulani Hlatshwayo and Moeneeb Josephs were rested in the stands.

Markus Lecki who formed a strong wall of defence at the back alongside Tebogo Moerane, lived up to Hunt’s predictions as “a player of the future.”

“Markus Lecki was fantastic at the back and certainly very good. He is quick at passing balls, very calm, good in the air, can play at the back, reads the ball well”, said Hunt.

Hunt strongly believes that letting the youngsters lead in the Caf Confederations Cup will train them for the next season when he signs all of them.

“We want to sign them up for next season. We need to play them in this competitive level. When we play  [Moroka] Swallows next week Tuesday, we’ll approach them as we did today. Play more kids, play more of them and put them in an environment that’s going to be hostile. So let’s see who has the guts and the makings of a player”, said Hunt.

Unleashing a 3-0 win

The start of the game in Johannesburg saw both sides come out guns blazing, with Ngcobo threatening, but failing, to head a lead goal in the opening minutes.

In the 40th- minute, Ngcobo came in again with a long shot from Christopher Katongo’s cross but instead went over the goal post frustrating the players.

A hopeful Royal Leopards’ Sikhumbuzo Ntimane tried to frustrate The Clever Boys even more when he tried to net in a lead but his attempt met the hands of Wits’ goalkeeper Boafela Pule.

A minute before the half-time whistle though, Ben Motshwari put The Clever Boys into the lead with a brilliantly executed strike.

Redeeming himself, Ngcobo fired in a header from Tebogo Moerane who dribbled past the fast paced Royal Leopards.

Vincent Pule’s persistence was evident in the second half where he tried to penetrate Royal Leopards’ wall, but his shot went wide of the target.  A second chance came in the 66th minute when Shameegh Doutie had the opportunity to put The Clever Boys in a 3:0 lead but his attempt met the hands of Mphikeleli Dlamini.

In the 78th minute, The Clever Boys took full advantage of their front line, with Ngcobo firing home Nyembezi Setelele’s cross for his second Bidvest Wits goal of the night, leaving the final score at 3-0.

Despite the competitiveness of Swaziland’s Royal Leopards, coach Sifiso Ntibane said his team “knew that they [Bidvest Wits] were going to put more goals in the box.”

“My boys tried. We were frustrating Wits in the first half, except in the last 30 seconds when they got a chance outside the box. All in all my boys were competing. They were there. That second goal my defender went out of the field and had a lump on his head and that’s when they got the space to get that second goal”, said Ntibane.