MTN8 Semi-Finals this past weekend

Another interesting weekend on domestic football, the first round of the MTN8 Semi-Finals: Platinum Stars 0-2 Kaizer Chiefs and Bidvest Wits 0-2 Orlando Pirates.

Unfortunately I missed the game between Kaizer Chiefs and Platinum Stars.

READ: Kaizer Chiefs in numbers against Platinum Stars

READ: Maluleka plays a role that’s similar to Mata at United

I was very disappointed with Bidvest Wits yesterday, from such a solid team which was playing decent football last season suddenly looking like a team with a new coach; the approach has changed.

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has adopted his old SuperSport United style of play, ‘route one’ and I do not think this will suit Wits, considering the attributes of the players and not like it suits our local players anyway. Last week I did mention that Sibusiso Vilakazi will struggle under this style of play, same with many other talented local boys in the team.

READ: Some teams in the PSL play horrible football

First half, it was shocking to see so many turn overs in such a game, Wits mostly loosing possession because every time they had the ball, they just kicked it forward and they lose it; Pirates build up and not get to the final third (Wits strong in the midfield; off the ball) and they lose it again.

I saw Orlando Pirates coach Vladimir Vermezovic’s variations after 25 mins and Pirates started to be more patient with their build-ups, but Oupa  Manyisa faced a lot of 2v1 (against Giorgi Nergadze and Jabulani Shongwe) which made it hard for him to link up play and get forward.

I am really not surprised with Wits struggling to score this season, the so-called experts say “team needs to gel” and I differ, the team needs to play at their strength, they have the quality, they need to go back to the basic principles of play: Attack based on moments (E.G. if you regain possession close to your goals and the opponents are still organised and have good numbers behind the ball, in order to create spaces to get into the attacking zones, you need to build up the attack, throwing the ball to your striker (even when he has no support) won’t create magic but instead you will be dispossessed and back to defending again and sadly this was the story with Wits in most parts of the game.

It is sad to see some coaches not showing confidence on their own players’ ability and resorting to route one football. There are players who are comfortable on the ball, good dribblers who are able to create spaces by taking on defenders and getting into advanced positions etc.

Wits might be plotting their own route to failure this season and will make a gold reference of what Style Is really suitable for South Africa.

By Sinesipho Mali

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