|Gavin Hunt © Backpagepix
SuperSport United coach Gavin Hunt was his usual brutally honest self when assessing his team’s performance against Ajax Cape Town.
The Tshwane side played out to a 1-1 draw at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday night, with Terror Fanteni ensuring a share of the spoils for Ajax after Sibusiso Zuma had scored the first goal of the night.
Hunt admitted that his team were fortunate to leave the Mother City with something in the bag.
“I didn’t think it was a really good game of football. We struggled with the conditions - where we train there’s not a blade of grass, and then you come here and the ball is all over the show (Hunt was referring to the slippery, wet conditions), so we struggled, we couldn’t get hold of it. We were second best all over the park and I think we were fortunate to get a point,” said the former Hellenic defender.
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Hunt is content with the squad he has assembled, following some interesting off-season signings, the latest being that of defender Mor Diouf from Maritzburg United.
The three-time PSL champions certainly appear to have a strong squad with players such as Thabo September, Sameehg Doutie and Jabu Maluleke not even making the trip down south, while the likes of Clifford Mulenga and Mabuthi Khenyeza were on the bench.
“I think we have a lot of power in terms of variation and depth. Look at the players who didn’t play tonight, who we still have back home, and you look at the players that are not fit.
“But it takes more than that to win things. It takes more than having a good squad. Like tonight, when you go one nil up, we should have closed the game out. We should have been better than that – we used to be able to do that before.
“There’s an old saying – strikers win games and defences win leagues – if you defend that one-nil lead you win the game. But we have got a lot in the tank, that’s for sure, and we can’t play any worse!”
Ajax coach Maarten Stekelenburg saw a second half substitution, and subsequent reshuffling of his side, paying nearly immediate dividends when Fanteni equalised in the 79th minute.
It may not have been an orthodox change: midfielder Nhalanhla Vilakazi for defender Mathew Booth, but the extra man in the middle of the park helped the Cape side get a hold of the game.
“Gavin took out Nathan Paulse,” explained Stekelenburg, “who had been well marked by Mathew Booth. The moment Khenyeza came on, and we were trying to go forward at that stage, I was a bit worried about his pace.
“I know Granwald Scott can play there, he’s played in defence as a junior, so strength wise and pace wise I thought that was a better combination.”
Overall, the Dutch coach was not too disappointed at having failed to collect all three points.
“You always want to win your first home game, but coming from behind, I’m quite happy with the result. I think we were the better team today. But its always very difficult to score against SuperSport, they have a very organised side, when you conceded a goal it’s always difficult.
“We had a couple of players that made their debuts and they did well. And compliments to my players for fighting for an result, its always good to have a result in your first game.”