Draw with Enyimba means Wits will not qualify for group stages of CAF
Bidvest Wits failed to qualify for the CAF Champions League group stages following their stalemate with Enyimba at the Eusene Stadium in Nigeria on Wednesday, April 18.
The 0-0 result means that Enyimba progress on the away goals rule after the first-leg ended in a 1-1 draw two weeks ago at the Bidvest stadium.
The Braamfontein side needed one goal to progress but failed to convert in front of the passionate Nigerian supporters. The draw means that Wits will exit the tournament at the play-off level for the second consecutive year .
In what was a tense match both teams created great chances. Chinonso Okonkwo missed the target with a header early in the match and Keegan Ritchie tested the Enyimba keeper at the brink of half-time.
The mountain set out for Gavin Hunt’s side became harder to climb as Edwin Gyimah received his marching orders in the 68th minute following a tackle on Oladapo.
The match remained goalless despite a late penalty for the home side which was saved by substitute goalkeeper Kyle Peters.
Long-time official and Director George Mogotsi told Wits Vuvuzela that the team put in their best efforts for the match but it was just not enough.
“There’s nothing more we can do. It’s football – you lose, you win. It happens.”
“We didn’t play well because of injuries. It’s been difficult to integrate new players this season,” Mogotsi said.
Fourth-year BSc student Lucas Masango told Wits Vuvuzela that the result was a big blow for the nation.
“It’s sad, South African teams have not been doing well in the CAF. It’s only been Sundowns and Pirates who have won. So for us to develop as a country we need more teams to do well,” he said.
The result caps what has been a bad week for the team from Braamfontein as they lost 2-0 to the champions-in-the-making Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfield on Saturday, April 13.
Pitso Mosimane’s side now need four points to seal the PSL title for a record eighth time after sweeping Golden Arrows aside on Tuesday, April 17, and extending their gap over Orlando Pirates to six points.
Mogotsi, who has been with Bidevest Wits for 34 years as a driver, security guard and now director, congratulated the team from Pretoria and wished them the best for the future.
“We want to applaud them. And we hope they can sustain it. Well done to them. They are a great team,” he said.
Although Hunt’s side have won the Telkom Knockout trophy this season, the campaign has been largely disappointing for the outgoing champions and will see the team hand over their league crown in the coming weeks.
First-year BEd student Mpho Ranka, an Orlando Pirates supporter, told Wits Vuvuzela that Wits had be too inconsistent this season and that they had been disappointing too watch.
“This season, I don’t think they have been well. I don’t know what’s happening. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose. They haven’t been playing well,” he said.
The team from Braamfontein are tenth on the log having played one less game than Boroka FC who are directly above them.
The Clever Boys next take on Polokwane City on Sunday, April 22, at home.
FEATURED IMAGE: Clever Boys line up before drawing to Enyimba in Champions League. Photo: Provided
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