Gift Motupa of Bidvest Wits celebrates during the Nedbank Cup match between Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits at Orlando Stadium. Picture: LEFTY SHIVAMBU/GALLO IMAGES
Gift Motupa of Bidvest Wits celebrates during the Nedbank Cup match between Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits at Orlando Stadium. Picture: LEFTY SHIVAMBU/GALLO IMAGES

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has directed veiled criticism at his Mamelodi Sundowns counterpart Pitso Mosimane after his comments about Wits’ star striker Gift Motupa. Mosimane has never hidden his admiration for the Clever Boys’ leading scorer and Hunt said the player has lost focus because of all the transfer talk.

Wits worked around the clock to keep Motupa away from free-spending Sundowns during the January transfer window and reportedly turned down a R22m offer for the 25-year-old former Orlando Pirates and Baroka FC man.

“Obviously it is important to keep Gift,” said Hunt when asked how Wits managed to hold on to their best player. “I saw a report in the paper today that is really disturbing from another coach about our player, about us turning down a certain amount of money.”

“It’s a disgrace, you know. That thing should never be like that.”

Wits advanced to the last 16 round of the Nedbank Cup after a penalty shootout against Pirates at Soweto’s Orlando Stadium on Sunday. Motupa came off the bench to score the equalising goal in the last kick of the match in a thrill-a-minute 3-3 draw after extra time.

The player may have scored 12 goals in all competitions this season, but Hunt insisted his star striker has lost focus in the midst of the relentless talk about a potential move to Sundowns. “The boy’s head is in a cloud because of all the talking from everybody. It’s disappointing.” 

In an interview last week Mosimane said clubs seem to inflate their prices whenever Sundowns come calling. “It’s very difficult for us to get players locally. I don’t know what’s happening with the market,” Mosimane was quoted as saying by the Daily Sun.

“We don’t get the players we want. The price for us to buy is totally different to the price for other clubs and that makes it difficult. It doesn’t make financial sense. Is there anyone who can buy a player from us for R15m? If not, then it should be the same for everyone,” said Mosimane.

“Nobody wants to buy from us. Do you remember any player who was bought from us? We are the ones who are buying. I’m not disrespecting other teams here. But really, who is worth R22m? How much is he earning monthly?”

Wits return to Premiership action for the first time in three weeks when they host Maritzburg United at Johannesburg’s Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday, as they catch up on fixtures. Wits trail leaders Kaizer Chiefs by four points, but have played four matches fewer because of their Caf Confederation Cup commitments.