Confederation Cup: Wits coach on 'nightmare' fixture congestion

South African coach Gavin Hunt
Bidwest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has 24 years experience coaching in South Africa

The coach of South African side Bidvest Wits says that his side face a 'nightmare' as they try to compete domestically and continentally.

Gavin Hunt says he may have to leave out some of his top players when they travel to Mali in the Confederation Cup next weekend, to avoid damaging their chances in the PSL.

The fixture pressure increased when the Confederation of African Football (Caf) compressed the continental schedule to make way for the African Nations Championship in April.

"It's a nightmare for us because we're already four league games behind everybody in our league and with the three games changed in January we're going to be seven games behind," Hunt told the BBC World Service.

"I don't know when we're going to catch these games up. So the domestic league has taken a bit of a battering at the moment."

The congestion means that Hunt is thinking of splitting up his squad so they can try to compete on both fronts.

Wits begin their Confederation Cup Group C campaign at home to visiting Horoya of Guinea on Sunday before then facing a long trek to Mali to play Djoliba.

With the trip expected to take 28 hours each way, Hunt is considering some drastic action.

"I'm thinking of how to do it for next week's game [away to Djoliba]: I'm going to leave five-six big hitters, my best players, here - and go there with a weakened side," he admitted.

"I've got to do it for that game and see how far we can get. I've got to make those decisions for the team and the club.

"I can't let our domestic form drop off. I still haven't made my mind up but I'm more than likely to leave five of my best players out."

Wits, who finished third in last season's Premier Soccer League, are currently fifth in the table, 15 points behind leaders Kaizer Chiefs but with those four games in hand.

Hunt knows only too well that the change of dates for the final Confederation Cup group matches could cause further problems for his club.

"It's last minute - it's pretty upsetting because we were ok, but now with another three games behind we're going to be seven games [back]," he added.

"We're not a big club, we're a small small club - we're punching above our weight but I don't want to take the strain where it affects us domestically because the domestic league is our bread and butter."

Nonetheless, Hunt admitted that he loved the thrill of competing at African level.

Wits narrowly lost to continental giants Al Ahly in the first round of the Champions League before dropping in to the Confederation Cup.

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