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Desperate champions


Wits won the title in May, but ended the year under a dark cloud.

ROOTED TO THE BOTTOM: Gerald Phiri of Bidvest Wits crouches dejectedly after their loss to Platinum Stars at Bidvest Stadium on Saturday.

“A lot of us are embarrassed.”

And with these words, after a handful of journalist camped outside Bidvest Wits’ dressing room following their 1-0 defeat at home against Platinum Stars on Saturday night, coach Gavin Hunt admitted relegation was now a concern.

The narrow loss was the Clever Boys’ seventh from 14 Premier League games, turning the title holders into a shadow of the side that ended a near-century long drought to win the championship last season.

“Our response is obviously one of disappointment,” Hunt said. “A lot of us are embarrassed – from where we were (as champions) to where we are now. We need to care about these things and work a lot more. What can I say? We have players in this team who have played and won a lot of things, but we have gone blind.

“We have missed the chance to score from some unbelievable opportunities. That’s been the story.”

Wits won the title in May, but ended the year under a dark cloud by not only losing in front of their home crowd to a struggling Stars outfit, but also by being rooted at the bottom of the Premier League table.

“When you are top of the league you are worried, and when you are bottom you are worried. But we can’t play with fear because we have got to take heed of the situation,” the coach, who spent at least 30 minutes having a word with his players prior to speaking to the press, said.

Hunt added that the short Christmas recess, which will see the Clever Boys only return to action against hoodoo side Free State Stars on January 5 at the Bidvest Stadium, should give him a chance to reflect and refresh the team as the transfer window also opens.

“Of course I am going to say we are going to turn it round. To be fair, the fight in the team has been good. The last three games, the opposition has had two chances. They (Platinum Stars) never had a chance, they scored from a corner,” he explained, before saying that the January transfer window was “a big opportunity”.

“We have to use it. I don’t know yet what we are going to get, but we are going to have a long chat about it. We have a few players on our minds, and a few that have got to go. There’s not much, but we must do the best we can. We certainly need to get some wingers.

“It’s a problem for us – not a lot of width in our play.”

Hunt said he now had doubts about his squad, despite them winning the league in May.

“Let’s throw that out the window,” he reasoned. “It’s questionable because we are where we are. If we’d scored half the chances we have had this season, we wouldn’t be here, that’s the bottom line.

“You look at the first game of the season where we lost 1-0 to Cape Town City, the score should have been four or five (in Wits’ favour). The strikers haven’t scored, but you can’t just blame them, it’s everybody.

“Whatever. Look at the squad, the chances have fallen to senior players, and they haven’t scored.”