Bidvest Wits head coach Gavin Hunt was pleased to see his reliable and “magnificent’” midfielder Phathutshedzo Nange back in action as his side dumped Orlando Pirates out of the Nedbank Cup on Sunday at Orlando Stadium.
Despite Nange putting in a good shift in the middle of the park for 90 minutes plus extra-time on his return from injury, Hunt admitted that it was “not part of the plan” for Nange to go straight into the starting XI and play the entire game as he needed to integrate the key midfield man back into the team slowly without overloading and overworking him.
“It was a bad decision on my part because he (Nange) was never gonna be able to play 80 minutes let alone 90 and 120 minutes but it is what it is and you know he is a very good player,” said Hunt.
“I think he is an excellent player, but it was my fault because that wasn’t part of the plan but sometimes football goes like that,” added the Wits coach.
Nange was out for about 3/4 weeks after suffering an ankle injury in Wits’ 3-2 win over Bloemfontein Celtic on January 15 at Bidvest Stadium in an Absa Premiership encounter.
‘The Students’ beat Pirates 3-2 on penalties as the game had ended 3-3 after regulation time and extra time with the former Black Leopards workhorse doing most of the dirty work, tracking to help in defence, pressing the opponents and going forward as well.
However, Hunt reiterated that Nange wasn’t supposed to play the entire game.
Like Steve Komphela once said, “Stats are like a bikini, they don’t always reveal everything”. Nange has played 17 games for Wits in all competitions finding the back of the net twice.
Hunt and his men now shift their focus back to the Absa Premiership as they take on Maritzburg United on Wednesday at Bidvest Stadium.
By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi