Darren Keet: Bidvest Wits want to reach Caf Champions League group stages

The Wits shot-stopper tells Goal that they are optimistic ahead of their match against Premeiro De Agosto because they want to reach the group stages

Many touted reigning Premier Soccer League champions, Bidvest Wits as favourites to retain their league crown following their first league glory after 96 years.

However, a poor start to their 2017/18 PSL campaign saw the Braamfontein-based side fail to move out of the relegation zone in the first round.

Despite having a star-studded squad at his disposal, coach Gavin Hunt suffered a number of injuries, especially to his experienced players which made their fight to collect points a daunting challenge.

In 2018, the Clever Boys bounced back and have lost just once in the league since the resumption of the current season in January, and they now have five players in the Bafana Bafana squad which was announced for the four-nation tournament in Zambia next week.

Out of nine league games played this year, Wits only lost to Free State Stars, and bagged five victories while drawing three.

This fantastic run has prompted coach Stuart Baxter to invite goalkeeper Darren Keet, defenders Thulani Hlatshwayo, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Reeve Frosler and Sifiso Hlanti to the national side.

Keet spoke to Goal about their change of fortunes and regarding their upcoming Caf Champions League first round second leg home clash against Angola’s Premeiro de Agosto on Saturday afternoon. 

“Look, we want to win this one because we have always wanted to be in the group stages of the competition," Keet told Goal.

“We want to play against the best on the continent, the best in the competition and that is what the Champions League is all about,” said the South Africa international.

“We know we lost the first leg and we are ready for the second leg at home. The Saturday game will definitely push us to go for a win,” noted the former KV Kortrijk goalkeeper.

“They are a physical side, good playing on the wing and we have got a look and feel of how they play, but we are at home this weekend,” he revealed.

“They might try and protect the lead and wait to see how we play, but I think we have prepared for the game. We need goals and at least if we can score two or three and not concede, then we can be able to reach the next stage – we have to want it more than them,” explained Keet.

Moreover, the Students No.1 also reacted and expressed delight at the Bafana call-ups they received earlier this week.

“I think this is a good motivation for the team and that the national team coach is watching our games and progress – he has rewarded us for hard work,” added Keet.

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“Everybody knows that we did not have a good start in the league because many of our guys were out injured,” he continued.

“We had to fight as a team and luckily the injured guys came back in the second round and we are getting stronger as far as results are concerned. I am glad we have five guys in the [national] team and that is down to hard work, we really work hard as a team and I am glad we also have Reeve joining us. He will learn and that will also motivate the other guys in the team to work harder and get recognition,” said the 28-year-old.

“This is a perfect opportunity for him [Frosler] to learn and we will definitely help him in the camp,” concluded Keet.