Bidvest Wits have more to prove this season after finishing second last season and selling their star player to the league champions, writes Wade Pretorius.
I like Wits are doing, despite being based in Cape Town, I’ve seen them play on a couple of occasions and have closely followed their progress over the years. I’ve been a fan of what Gavin Hunt has achieved over the seasons especially in the way he sets out his teams in order to do a job. His frankness in post-match press conferences and his touchline antics make him a pleasure to watch.
Wits also run a really good project. They boast a great academy which has produced more than its fair share of quality professionals, who are capable of cutting it in the PSL including Sibusiso Vilakazi and Phumlani Ntshangase.
Last season, the Clever Boys finally showed their worth on the domestic front as they before ultimately falling away and allowing Sundowns, with all their might both on and off the field, to romp to the title. It’s almost as if they have to deal with ‘second season syndrome’ as they have to maintain their place as serious title challengers but have now have to deal with a number of squad changes after months of speculation was finally ended this weekend.
Vilakazi, a Bafana Bafana international, has now secured a switch to Chloorkop, where he will fit in is Pitso Mosimane’s problem with the CBD hogging all the preferred attacking positions. Cuthbert Malajila and Mogakolodi Ngele will move the other way, good business all-round but what long-lasting effect will it have on Wits?
The sale of Vilakazi has, on paper, been offset by the arrivals of Malajila, Ngele and goalkeeper Darren Keet but as all fans know, the game is not played on paper. How will Hunt continue to drum into his players that they are a team; a unit capable of breaking into the elite few that have won the PSL. How does he keep other stars from having their heads turned when one of the big three come knocking for a transfer, whether it be before the transfer window shuts or in January?
Wits are not a selling team in the mould of Ajax Cape Town but remain powerless to keep their best players due to their status as a side beneath the ‘Big Three’ of South African football. Until they manage to change their image by winning the championship, they will continue this constant cat and mouse chase with progress.