Experience will help Wits shine, but they need to be more ruthless in front of goal.
THE numerous trial-and-error stints Bidvest Wits have endured in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) competitions have put the club in a good position in their maiden appearance in the group stage of the Confederation Cup.
That’s the view of the club’s coach Gavin Hunt, who watched his team play to a goalless draw against Guinea’s Horoya on Sunday at Dobsonville Stadium.
The Clever Boys will follow that match with a trip to Mali to take on Djoliba in Bamako this coming Sunday.
Libya’s Al-Nasr complete the group that sees all four clubs on one point after the first round of matches.
“In the last three years we lost to Al-Ahly 1-0,” Hunt said.
“We lost to Primeiro de Agosto on a penalty shoot-out and they reached the semi-finals of the Champions League. We lost to Enyimba on the away goal rule.
“We tried. With our squad, we tried our best. That has helped us gain experience, guys like Buhle (Mkhwanazi) who were there in those years.
“For a club of our size to compete with these clubs is very difficult but we are doing our best. We are trying to compete in all fronts an do our best.”
Horoya left the country happy after collecting a point on the road. The trick to doing well in continental competitions is to win your home games and try to sneak a point on the road. Horoya got a big point against Wits and they will back themselves to collect maximum points against Al-Nasr in Conakry on Sunday.
Hunt’s men were left ruing the chances they missed and thinking of what could have been.
“You could see the problem that we have, we haven’t scored a goal in four games now,” Hunt said.
“It’s not through a lack of trying; if we are being fair, we certainly had the better chances. There is no two ways about it.
“They are organised and you could see that they have a lot of experience in their team. They set up nicely. You could see that they are structured and well-coached. They are the happier of the two teams, but there are still a few games to go.
“Our club doesn’t have the experience of playing in this competition.”
Wits’ naivety was exposed by their quest to go toe-to-toe with Guinean gladiators. They lost that battle hands down, and then looked to penetrate the side through their speed and movements. It worked in certain moments but their inability to convert their chances hurt them.
They need to improve on this if they are to reach the knockout stage.
“It’s a known fact that South African footballers can’t compete physically against players of such stature (as the ones Horoya have),” said the Wits coach.
“Even in our national team we struggle. We needed to have a lot more movement, which we did today, but then you need the final pass. That let us town.
“We can’t physically outplay them because of their size and structure, so we need to go with more movement.
“When the team sits in, it makes it even harder for you.”