Pressing Issues: Joffe seems to have found his man after a long Hunt

2014-03-19 10:00

A while ago, I listened to the CEO of Bidvest, Brian Joffe, articulate his ambitions, or should I say his vision, for Bidvest Wits Football Club.

He was in the chair with the indefatigable Robert Marawa on Metro FM.

What he articulated at the time sounded like quite an ambitious plan and some of it did seem like a pie in the sky idea because of the position of the club and their performances at the time.

But he spoke with such conviction that there was no doubt he was serious and quite committed to seeing his vision through.

But one question that kept on gnawing at the back of my mind was: Does he have the right coach to achieve the goals he has set for himself?

There is something about people like Joffe. You usually doubt them at your own peril.

It takes a special kind of person to succeed in the world of business. There is a reason the world is called a jungle, or sometimes even a dog-eat-dog place.

Enter Gavin Hunt.

I think it was a stroke of genius by Joffe to bring Hunt aboard the Bidvest ship – a stroke of genius one would expect from someone of his calibre.

The eccentric coach has earned his stripes, first with the struggling Hellenic, then with Black Leopards and then SuperSport United, where he bagged three league titles on the trot. That’s no mean feat.

So it is not surprising that going into this weekend’s fixtures, Wits had steadily if not stealthily crept up the log into a position where they are now serious league title contenders.

Before this round of fixtures, which started with AmaZulu eating Maritzburg United 3-1 on Friday night, Wits were occupying third position on 37 points after 19 matches.

This put them in a strong position because log leaders Kaizer Chiefs were on 43 points after 20 matches ahead of their Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates, who were on 33 points after the same number of matches as Wits.

Sundowns, who were set to meet Polokwane City last night, were on 37 after 20 outings.

One can safely say that at the beginning of the season, no one would have betted on Wits lifting the league title.

When questioned during interviews, Hunt is reluctant to say his team will come out tops, which proves how wily he has become.

Every time the question of the league title is posed to him, he points in the direction of either Sundowns, Chiefs or Pirates.

Marawa still plays a sound bite of Hunt saying that Sundowns are going to buy the league by shopping around for all the top players.

Not once has he touted his own side as the favourites.

I know I’ve previously written in this column that Patrice Motsepe seems to have found his man in Pitso Mosimane after a long silverware drought in the Sundowns cabinet. But now Hunt has put his hand up as a serious contender for the league.

Wits have grounded some of their victories out of nothing. Just last week, they annihilated Polokwane City, who were becoming a feared force after claiming the Buccaneers’ scalp not so long ago.

And in the process, Sthembiso Ngcobo – who has struggled to make a mark at Chiefs and AmaZulu – has emerged as a strong player.

Goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs, whom many would like to refer to as a Pirates reject, is another one who seems to be enjoying a new lease on life.

A colleague asked me this week if Hunt could be the new Gordon Igesund. The latter has won four league titles with four different sides.

It might still be a bit early to start making such comparisons, but winning three league titles in a row, as Hunt did with Matsatsantsa a Pitori, is no mean feat.

So, if you ask me, Joffe does seem to have found his man after a long hunt.

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