Bidvest Wits slide into third

Bidvest Wits slide into third

The Clever Boys came back from a spirit dampening loss against Mamelodi Sundowns last week to taking the third spot on the log after showing Maritzburg United how its done.

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PERFECT BOOT: Bidvest Wits debutant and goal scorer, Kris Bright trying to break the defence of opponents, Maritzburg United. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

ROUND THREE of the Absa Premiership saw Bidvest Wits beat their KwaZulu-Natal guests at home Wednesday night and slide into a familiar third place on the rankings.

Maritzburg United’s captain Ashley Hartog made a visible effort to keep the players forged in Jozi from scoring, but two powerful goals flew past him and his team.

After what was a very slow start for the Clever Boys with a couple of failed open shots at goal, New Zealander Kris Bright scored a beauty from Daine Klaite’s corner kick.

Bright had a massive game and worked well with Elias Pelembe and Sibusiso Vilakazi until he was sent to rest in the middle of the second half.

Wits kicked-off the second half with Vilakazi’s right boot directing the ball past the Maritzburg goalie, Virgil Vries, to stretch the home side’s lead to 2-0. This goal came two minutes after the start of the half with a great assist from debutant Bright.

With many attempts at goal none of the teams seemed to be able to score after Vilakazi’s success, leaving the final score at 2-0.

The discipline in this game was something to strive for in the rest of the season.  There were only a total of three yellow cards between the two teams as Wits already had five yellows against them from two games and Maritzburg a troubling 13.

Wits managed to move-up the rankings from 10th to 3rd with six points, just below their Ajax Cape Town rivals. But the Maritzburg boys failed to sway away from their 15th position.

Although the Clever Boys’ performance is a step-up from that of their 4-2 defeat last week against Mamelodi Sundowns, they still failed to convert a couple of easy opportunities. They won’t get away with these slip-ups as easily when they face the calibre of Ajax this Saturday in the MTN 8 semi-finals.

Bidvest Wits will be taking on AmaTuks in their next Absa Premiership round on September 13 in Pretoria.

PSL celebrates top players

PSL celebrates top players

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) finished off the 2014/15 with its annual awards ceremony at the Sandton Convention Centre last night.

Kaizer Chiefs’ Tefu Mashamaite walked away with half a million rands and the title of the best player in the Premier Soccer League last night. Mashamaite also won the defender of the season and players’ player of the season awards at the

Another big winner for the evening was veteran midfielder Teko Modise of Mamelodi Sundowns. The 32-year-old Modise walked away with awards for midfielder of the season and player of the tournament in the Nedbank Cup.

Bidvest Wits, who finished third in the PSL at 52 points, went into the awards with three nominations.  Moneeb ‘Slimkat’ Josephs took the goalkeeper of the season nod while Phumlani Ntshangase was chosen as the young player of the season.

Wits’ Thulani Hlatshwayo was also nominated but lost the defender of the season award to Mashamaite.

Kazier Chiefs were the biggest winners of the evening, with two pieces of silverware under their belt from the MTN 8 and the ABSA Premiership 2014/15 title. Coach Stuart Baxter of Amakhosi Amahle walked away with coach of the season and George Maluleke was the last man standing in the MTN 8.

A complete list of the winners is below:

TELKOM KNOCKOUT:

Champions: SuperSport United

Player of the Tournament: Dove Wome (Supersport United)

MTN 8:

Champions: Kazier Chiefs

Last Man Standing (player of the tournament): George Maluleke (Kazier Chiefs)

All three nominated players in this category were from Kazier Chiefs

Nedbank Cup:

Champions: Mamelodi Sundowns

Player of the Tournament: Teko Modise (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Young Player of the Tournament: Tashreeq Morris (Ajax Cape Town)

Other awards within the PSL:

Top Goal scorer in the National First Division: Phumelele Bhengu (Thanda Royal Zulu)

Multichoice Diski Challenge Player of the Tournament: Dikgang Ngcobo (University of Pretoria)

Referee of the Season: Phillip Tinyani

Assistant Referee of the Season: Peter Chauke

Chairman’s Award: Botha Msila – staunch supporter of Bloemfontein Celtics

ABSA Premiership

Goalkeeper of the Season: Moneeb Josephs (Bidvest Wits)

Young Player of the Season: Phumlani Ntshangase (Bidvest Wits)

Coach of the Season: Stuart Baxter (Kazier Chiefs)

Top Goal Scorer of the Season: Moeketsi Sekola (Free State Stars)

ABSA Premiership Champs: Kazier Chiefs

Defender of the Season: Tefu Mashamaite (Kazier Chiefs)

Midfielder of the Season: Teko Modise (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Absa-lutely Awesome Goal: Menzi Masuku (Orlando Pirates)

Players’ player of the Season (voted for by other players): Tefu Mashamaite (Ka9izer Chiefs)

Footballer of the Season (voted for by the 16 PSL coaches): Tefu Mashamaite (Kaizer Chiefs)

Clever Boys end season with a win at home 

Clever Boys end season with a win at home 

Bidvest Wits come away with their second consecutive third place in the Absa Premiership. Although Wits let their guard down in the last game of the season, they came away with a win at home.

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HUMBLE WITS:Bidvest Wits squad posing for a photo with fans on the field after the game. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

The Clever Boys slipped one goal past the Platinum Stars earlier today to finish third, one above Orlando Pirates, on the Absa Premiership table.

After taking to the field at the Bidvest stadium, the teams joined the crowd in a moment of silence for the victims of xenophobia. 

The first half was very slow paced with Bidvest Wits holding the majority of the ball possession. The home team received many opportunities at goal but struggled to push it through.

After a number of attempts at goal,  Vincent Pule, in the number twelve jersey, sliced the ball past five Platinum Stars players to put Wits on the score board in the 30th minute.

In the last twenty minutes of the game play slowed as both teams seemed to have lost focus.

The ref gave an extra four minutes for injury time in which Hunt instructed his team to keep the ball and let the time run out. As time ran out Wits kicked the ball out of play and the final whistle blew.

“I’m happy we managed to get a point, but we just couldn’t convert chances,” said Bidvest Wits captain, Buhle Makwanazi.
“Platinum Stars have good individual players and are not an easy team to face … although we played well, we need to work on conversions,” said Makhwanazi.

Wits’ goal for the 2014/2015 premiership was to surpass last year’s third place season finish, according to coach Gavin Hunt. “We wanted to do better this year, but third is still fantastic,” Hunt said. 

Compared to last season’s statistics, Bidvest Wits are down by three points and had one less win. Kaizer Chiefs won the premiership with Mamelodi Sundowns finishing in second.  

The General marches forward

The General marches forward

KICKER: The General, Sibusiso Vilakazi is not so relaxed about making it to the top.  Photo: Luca Kotton

KICKER: The General, Sibusiso Vilakazi is not so relaxed about making it to the top.
Photo: Luca Kotton

Sibusiso Vilakazi started playing soccer at the age of 11. At 24, the captain of Bidvest Wits is the newest member of Bafana Bafana and has dreams of playing internationally in the near future.

Vilakazi started his career playing street soccer in Meadowlands, Soweto and was later signed by local team, Meadowlands Chelsea, as a goalkeeper.

The current midfielder of both the national team and the Clever Boys made his (PSL) Premier Soccer League debut in 2009 when he joined Bidvest Wits juniors and Bidboys. He says it has always been his dream to play for an overseas professional team.

Vilakazi tried out several times for Danish club Brondby FC in the past two years with a deal falling through at the last minute each time.

“I have experienced setbacks but everything happens for a reason. I have faith that it will happen someday,” he said.

The soccer star is however making strides locally having been tirelessly pursued by the Glamour Boys, Kaizer Chiefs, this past transfer window.

Nicknamed “General” by his fans, Vilakazi was called up to the national team in October 2013 and nearly a year later says he still gets excited to represent his country. “Every time I go play for the team I get very excited,” he says.

Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela in his number 10 Wits jersey, Vilakazi says he prefers to spend his spare time with his family in Meadowlands.

“I am a family man,” he says but adds that he occasionally has a few drinks with his friends.

‘Vila’, as most of his Wits teammates call him, says he makes it his priority to build solid friendships with the players. “We need to have that relationship as a team,” says Vilakazi.

As for his pre-match routines, Vilakazi takes a relaxed approach. “I sit on my bed for hours, with the TV on and think about the game,” he says.

And for the question his female fans most want the answer to: Vilakazi says he currently doesn’t have a girlfriend but appreciates the adoration he has been getting from his devoted supporters.