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Has the curse of the champions hit South Africa?

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has been under immense pressure this season
Just seven games into the new season and football lovers have already begun to question Bidvest Wits.
Just seven games into the new season and football lovers have already begun to question the South African champions. Bidvest Wits are placed 15th in the PSL standings and have been ruled out of the title race as early as October.

They’ve already lost the same amount of home games as they did last season, and if these performances keep going, we have to question whether the ‘curse of the champions’ have hit South Africa.

In England, Chelsea won the Premier League in 2014/15, then finished as low as 10th on the table the following year – a season in which Leicester City won their first league title. The Foxes, however, could not keep that momentum going and finished 12th in the 2016/17 campaign. So the big question is: are Bidvest Wits following the footsteps of these English sides?

Bidvest Wits have left us asking plenty of questions in the new season. Now that they’ve won their first league title, is there nothing left to achieve until the CAF Champions League? They’ve reached their target, but does it just stop there?

There’s no denying that they have a brilliant manager in Gavin Hunt, but results need to change immediately if they still want to be respected as one of the best teams in Mzansi. There has been some talk of Wits letting go of Hunt, with former Highlands Park manager, Gordon Igesund, set to take over. However, I doubt that will happen, especially before the new CAF Champions League campaign gets underway.

I mentioned that complacency could have caught up with them, but it also could be down to the other clubs in the PSL as well. Every team wants to beat the champions.

Another worry for the Clever Boys is that because they have never won the league before last season, they don’t know what it feels like to deal with the pressure as champions.

There’s loads of pressure for Wits to deal with now, more so after the impressive signings they have made. The champions have brought in Steven Pienaar, Daylon Claasen and Amr Gamal, all of whom have experience outside of South Africa.

When asked about the team’s horrid start to the season, Pienaar joked and replied, “maybe I brought the bad luck from Sunderland.”

“We going through a difficult patch at the moment. Results are not coming our way, and obviously, being the champions last season, the club is also under a big magnifying glass that everybody is looking at,”

“You have to go through difficult times if you want to reach the top, and we’re just having a bit of bad luck at the moment,” he continued.

Pienaar was optimistic that Bidvest Wits can still lift the league title, despite them claiming just one win in seven games.

“The last time I won a league was in 2004 when I was at Ajax [Amsterdam], so obviously you would want to finish your career on a high. We’re only seven games in. If I can recall last season when Chelsea won the league, they also started off quite badly,”

“We’re not playing bad, we’re just not scoring goals and we’re conceding from silly mistakes which is our own wrongdoings. But I do believe that we can still lift the league. If you win five or six games in a row, then you’re back up there again,” Pienaar concluded.

They certainly do have the squad to bounce back, and with their next two fixtures being SuperSport United and high-flying Baroka FC, it’s now or never to get back to winning ways again.