Absa Premiership

Being a clever student, a no brainer

Gavin Hunt (Gallo Images)
Gavin Hunt (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - With the kind of quality Wits have assembled, it should be easy for the book makers to make their predictions.

Even before the season starts, the Clever Boys are shoo-in favourites to retain the Absa Premiership title.

It took them 94 years to claim their maiden league championship but it should take them far less than that period to increase their tally.

Wits have been one of the busiest on the market with the arrival of three international players in Steven Pienaar, Daylon Claasen and Montenegrin defender Slavko Damjanovic.

They have also added Bokang Tlhone from Free State Stars, with whom they entered into a pre-contract as early as January.

The Students have lost Cuthbert Malajila and Mogakolodi Ngele who were on loan from Mamelodi Sundowns.

But they have a capable replacement in Claasen who is expected to fill the void left by Ngele.

The 27-year-old, however, believes it will not be easy breaking into the Wits line-up. But he has vowed to push hard to make the team.

“First thing is that I want to get back on the field and play. I don’t want to talk too much before the season starts. I can only be the best I can be,” he said this week.

He says he wants to take it easy and does not want to put himself under unnecessary pressure and would rather let his boots do the talking on the field than promise a lot.

After playing in Holand, Belgium, Poland and Germany, the former Ajax Cape Town midfielder believes he will add value to the side.

“The signs are good and I already feel at home. Coming to this club was no brainer for me as I always wanted to play for Gavin Hunt [Wits coach].

"I also have friends here and it made my decision an easy one. Gavin is a good coach and I am happy to be part of his team.”

Claasen cannot remember winning any silver medal except when he was still with the Ajax Amsterdam second team but he does not regard it as something to cherish.

His stints at Lierse in Belgium, Lech Poznan of Poland and 1860 Munich in Germany have not won him anything.

So with no serious medal to brag about in his career, he has a burning desire to start a collection and will have a chance to win his first one when Wits defend the MTN8 title next month.

With nine Bafana Bafana caps to his name, he believes being closer to the national team coach will enhance his chances of going back to the team.

“It will be good to be in the eye of the coach playing locally. But first I must make my team. With the calibre of players we have at the club, every day is a learning curve for me.”

He says South African players have what it takes to succeed overseas if they get opportunities.

“Football has evolved so much and it is all about our players’ mental attitude.”

He does not rule out the possibilities of going back to Europe one day.

But for now he wants to be a clever student, keep on learning, improve as a player and win medals.

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