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.

bidvest

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.

Bloem Celtics continue on winning streak, beating the Clever Boys

Bidvest Wits team before the kick off at the Bidvest stadium on Friday night. Photo: Sinikiwe Mqadi

Bidvest Wits team before the kick off at the Bidvest stadium on Friday night. Photo: Sinikiwe Mqadi

Bloemfontein Celtic has continued their winning streak by beating Bidvest Wits 1-0 on Friday night.

The winning goal was struck by Lerato Lamola in the 78th minute. His team mate, Musa Nyatama, was tackled unfairly by Siyabonga Nhlapo of Bidvest Wits. Nhlapo was given his second yellow card of the match, and was sent off. Nhlapo conceded a penalty which allowed the visitors to lead 1-0.

The Free State based team has been on a winning streak since the start of the Premier Soccer League in February this year

The game was hotly contested, with Bloemfontein Celtic’s coach, Clinton Larsen admitting that they had expected to work hard for their win. He said they watched how Wits dominated the game against Sundowns and he warned his players that, “Wits settle very quickly.”

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt talks to journalists after his team was defeated by the Bloemfontein Celtics. Photo: Sinikiwe  Mqadi

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt talks to journalists after his team was defeated by the Bloemfontein Celtics. Photo: Sinikiwe Mqadi

Larsen added that his side was very disciplined and that Wits didn’t manage to break them down in the middle. He was delighted with the three points and said, “The boys worked hard for it.”

The game had a slow start with the players being unable to keep their balance on the wet pitch, due to rain earlier in the day.

As the players began to adjust to the pitch and the chilly Johannesburg air, Wits took their chances with a cross being played through from Shameegh Doutie to Jabulani Shongwe in the first 30 minutes of the game. The shot, like many others that Wits had on target, did not reach the back of the net.

Wits Goalkeeper, Moeneeb Josephs also had his work cut out for him as Bloemfontein Celtic attacked at every chance they got.

In the 43rd minute, Lerato Lamola after being served with a great ball from Man of the Match, Keegan Ritchie, failed to find the back of the net due to a vigilant save by Josephs.

Even though the first was goalless, the atmosphere was electric with the fans of The Clever Boys and those of Siwelele singing to keep their spirits up and themselves warm.

After the drastic turn of events in the 78th minute, the 10-man-side of Wits played solid football and managed to hold Celtics at one goal.

A disappointed Gavin Hunt said he believed that his side should have scored more goals. He said they were second in the league and not at the top, because they have not been scoring goals.

Wits remain at 40 points on the log table, 10 points below log leaders Kaizer Chiefs, whilst Bloemfontein Celtic walked away with three points.

Wits Soccer shoots for Nationals

HECTIC HEADER: During soccer practice at Diggs fields on Tuesday, Wits team captain Tebogo Digoamaje said he is confident in his team’s performance for their upcoming semi-final match against Tuks in the USSA Gauteng League, where a top three spot will get them to nationals.    Photo: Lameez Omarjee

HECTIC HEADER: During soccer practice at Diggs fields on Tuesday, Wits team captain Tebogo Digoamaje said he is confident in his team’s performance for their upcoming semi-final match against Tuks in the USSA Gauteng League, where a top three spot will get them to nationals.
Photo: Lameez Omarjee

If the Wits men’s soccer team beat Tuks, Pretoria University’s log leaders, next week, it will go through to the national finals of the University Sports South Africa (USSA) tournament in December.

Through this possible win at next week Tuesday’s match, Wits would attain one of the top three positions in the Gauteng USSA League and would then qualify for the national tournament to be held in Durban, in the first week of December.
Meeting for the second time with their opponents, Wits University football coach Karabo Mogudi said his men were more than prepared for Tuks.

Cruising through competition

“They are good football players; they play high intensity football which is a strong point for them. I’ve prepared the team to play the same as well. They must bring it on because we know we [are] going to bring it too,” said Mogudi.

Wits thrashed Tuks with a 3-1 win the last time there was a face-off between the two in August. Mogudi is confident his team could win against them again, even though the match is in Pretoria, on their rival’s home turf when they duel on Tuesday, September 23.

The rankings so far are as follows: Tuks first, Vaal University of Technology (VUT) second, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) third and Wits, in fourth place.

Attaining a position in the top eight of the USSA national champs will then qualify Wits for the Varsity Football league. They did not qualify last year.

“The team should be the star. I don’t want individualism … if the team wins, the players shine. It’s that simple”

Wits team captain Tebogo Digoamaje, 2nd year BSc Property Studies, who joined the team last year felt that their performance this season was better because the squad was bigger. About 25 players are registered for the USSA Gauteng League. Last year the smaller team battled without squad rotations between games.

Digoamaje revealed that past lost matches were due to mistakes they had made, rather than their opponent’s performance.

Unshakable confidence

However, he had “full respect for every opponent” they played against. In preparation for their game against Tuks, he said, “We’ve implemented a number of strategies, various ones, and the coach will decide which will lead us to victory and get us to nationals.”

Left wing Neo Makua, 3rd year BSc Quantity Surveying, felt confident that the team will go through to national championships. “The coach made us become a team, so we put the team before the individual.”

Although there are strong individuals playing, Mogudi emphasised team play rather than individual stars. “The team should be the star. I don’t want individualism … if the team wins, the players shine. It’s that simple,” he said.

Mogudi is confident in the team’s tactics and credits his technical team, which consists: assistant coach Dumisani Thusi, goal-keeper coach Kgabo Ditsebe and team manager, Sanele Nene for developing new ideas and strategies for success.

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Women’s football comes up short

GOT THE BLUES:  Despite an 11-0 victory over Midrand Graduate Institute the Wits women’s soccer team did not qualify for the USSA National Club  Championships.    Photo: Lameez Omarjee

GOT THE BLUES: Despite an 11-0 victory over Midrand Graduate Institute the Wits women’s soccer team did not qualify for the USSA National Club Championships. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

A thrashing of 11-0 against Midrand Graduate Institute on Tuesday night was not enough for the Wits women’s soccer team to qualify for this year’s national club championships.

The Wits Women’s soccer team is ranked sixth in the University Sports South Africa (USSA) league. They failed to reach one of the top four positions to qualify for play-offs in October. Last year, they were one of the top three teams and went to the USSA National Club Championships.

“The team lacks upfront when it comes to finishing goals,” said Dennis Tshabalala, the team’s coach for the past two years. Although the team does score a few goals, Tshabalala said, “We need a prolific scorer.”

Declining performance

Compared to previous years, the team’s performance has declined. They are not as competitive as they were in previous years according to team manager, Marcel Kutumela, 4th year Social Work. Kutumela played for the team but took on the role as manager after a knee injury, which required reconstruction surgery.

“The team morale is not on par,” she said.  The team used to compete “rigorously” against their top competitors, University of Pretoria, University of Johannesburg and the Vaal University of Technology, but no more.

“This year they lost against those teams, which scored against us. Usually we would play until a goalless draw,” Kutumela said.

Kutumela said the team should “build more character in ourselves, and have good team spirit … [We] need to fight harder and train harder. And people need to be more confident in themselves.”

“It would make a difference if more students participated in soccer, because there would be more players to choose from.”

She said the season was not good and they could perform better, and suggested support from the university and students would help.

Kutumela also suggested that the university could do more to create platforms for exposure of the women’s team. Last year the team was featured in the Wits Catalogue “but that’s it,” she said.

It would make a difference if more students participated in soccer, because there would be more players to choose from. This year, people didn’t attend practices and games because of studies “which is understandable,” said Kutumela.

Although pleased with the win over Midrand Graduate Institute team captain Linah Maphanga, 3rd year BSc, said the team “lacked discipline and training”.

She was pleased the team won, “it has been so long since we won,” she said. Maphanga agreed this season had been a struggle with the team having to play matches without a full squad.
Tshabalala called the win “okay”.

Women in sport

Tshabala said the challenge the women’s team faced were the same for all women’s sport. “There is low support”. He said the team would perform better if more people came to watch the games and cheer them on.

To help overcome challenges, he said women’s soccer should be developed at schools, so that when players come to university, they can just work on “minor tactical issues”.

If football at school level is improved then at university the performance will be “super”.

Kutumela, who has been a female athlete for 12 years, said that women have “something to prove … especially with the physical aspect”.

She explained that women need to be stronger than their opposition, including males, to be featured and promoted.

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Wits’ Clever Boys kick off the season with a solid start

 

CAPTAINS DUEL: Sibusiso Vilakazi battles for the ball with Maritzburg United captain Ashley Hartog in a match which saw the Clever Boys create multiple chances but manage to only score a solitary goal. Photo: Luca Kotton

CAPTAIN’S DUEL: Sibusiso Vilakazi battles for the ball with Maritzburg United captain Ashley Hartog in a match which saw the Clever Boys create multiple chances but manage to only score a solitary goal. Photo: Luca Kotton

Bidvest Wits beat Maritzburg United by a solitary goal to remain unbeaten in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) at Bidvest Stadium this evening.

The Clever Boys started the match with a number of new players and managed to create multiple scoring opportunities but ended the game with little to show for it apart from the goal of Sthembiso Ngcobo.

The change in formation with no wingers in midfield and two strikers upfront seemed to challenge the home side’s creativity.

Gavin Hunt, Bidvest Wits coach told Wits Vuvuzela after the match: ”To play with two strikers you have to play with no width, so we played with no width today although on Sunday we tried and we just got burnt.”

Phumlani Ntshangase played his first game of the season for the Clever Boys, received the man of the match award along with weighty praise from the coach.

“He was the difference in the team, he was fantastic … I should have put him in a long time ago bit obviously he was suspended in the beginning of the season and now he can come in,” Hunt said.

Cornelis Kwakman, a Wits defender, also played his first game since arriving from the Netherlands and kept a clean sheet for his team, putting himself in strong contention for selection as the team’s main centre back.

Kwakman told Wits Vuvuzela: “The teams performance was very good, if you saw the pitch it was very difficult to play. We had a lot of chances today, I have not seen more chances for the team this whole season.”

The Clever Boys face Orlando Pirates in the second leg of the MTN8 at Orlando Stadium this Saturday with a two goal deficit working against them.

Soccer player represents Islam

 

FAITHFUL IDENTITY: By wearing her hijab whilst playing soccer, Naeema Hussein  believes she’s representing her faith at a “higher level”.         Photo:  Lameez Omarjee

FAITHFUL IDENTITY: By wearing her hijab whilst playing soccer, Naeema Hussein believes she’s representing her faith at a “higher level”.  Photo: Lameez Omarjee

Watching the Wits University women’s soccer team, you may spot a hijab-wearing soccer player at the centre back, defending the goals.

Second-year BSc physiotherapy student Naeema Hussein chooses to play soccer in her hijab (headscarf) to represent her Islamic faith at a “higher level”.
Hussein says: “My faith pushes me to want to achieve more and say you can excel and aspire without needing to compromise your faith or your Islamic identity.”

Soccer career
After matriculating in 2012, she was awarded a university entrance scholarship for her distinctions. Hussein was later awarded the Bidvest Wits Football Club bursary and has been playing for Wits for the past two years.
She takes credit for initiating playing with a hijab at Wits: “They were very open to it, very considerate.” The South African Football Association changed their regulations to allow Muslim women to play in a hijab. This also helped her cause.
Hussein’s passion for soccer comes from her “Egyptian blood”.
“I have three brothers … We’ve been soccer crazy ever since I was small,” she says.
Hussein’s soccer career started in grade eight when she joined the Parktown Girls’ High School soccer team. “I was so excited. So I started on the second team, building myself up.” A year later, she was in the school’s first team and pushed for a ladies’ team at the Marks Park Football Club.
In 2010 the team was one of the youngest invited to compete at the Arsenal International Soccer Festival in London. “I think we came back with experience that was priceless,” says Hussein.
The exposure to higher levels of soccer pushed the team to perform at their best.

“It pushed me further because I was forced not to procrastinate.”

In her matric year, Hussein captained the first team at her school. At the time she was playing for three different soccer teams while balancing schoolwork. “It pushed me further because I was forced not to procrastinate. I managed my time way better like that.” The soccer was a stress relief between studies: “I think it’s important to keep a balance.”

Community leader
Hussein was also the recipient of this year’s Golden Key New Member Chapter Award at Wits. It recognises academic excellence, leadership roles, commitment to community work and participation in extracurricular activities.
Hussein is a member of the Wits Muslim Students’ Association and the Muslim Youth Movement. Last year she served on “the core” of the Palestinian Solidarity Committee.
Additionally she is part of Awqaf South Africa. Awqaf is an Arabic word for assets donated or purchased for specific charitable causes that are socially beneficial. It focuses on youth and leadership development, immediate poverty relief and long-term community investments.
Her Awqaf membership has given her an opportunity to attend an international leadership programme in Jakarta, Indonesia for two weeks in December. “They’ve given me a platform to push myself further,” she says. “When I come back it’s my responsibility to go and facilitate courses to educate others.”
Hussein and a group of girls under the Islamic Careline organisation two weeks ago launched a leadership development programme for young Muslim women between the ages of 18 and 25. Called Hayatoon-Nujoom, (“our star”) which they hope to expand to other demographics.
“The key thing is I empower myself so that I can empower those around me and at the end of the day, it’s the empowerment of the entire society, the global society that we are living in.”

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SCIENCE INSIDE: The 2014 Fifa World Cup

This week’s show looked at the science inside the 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup. The players, the stadiums, the health and injuries of this incredible event. We’ll take you back to our own world cup experience in 2010 and explore some of the technologies that will be used for the first time in this year’s world cup, in Brazil. What does it take to build a stadium and why is mexican beef bad for footballers? We’ve also got a bit of a shocking story about a TB clinic in Jo’burg.

If the podcast does not load automatically, please click here.

Vuvuzela Journalist mugged at Wits

Wits Vuvuzela journalist was mugged at Wits on Wednesday night after the Orlando Pirates vs. Bidvest Wits soccer match.

The journalist, who asked not to be named, said he was in the Wits parking lot behind the stadium when he was approached by two men in Orlando Pirate shirts.

“I was on my way to my car…there were not a lot of people there at all and it was dark,” he said.

The men demanded that he hand over his valuables. At the time he was in possession of his car keys, cellphone and a camera.

“I wasn’t sure if they were armed and I didn’t want to get aggressive so I just gave them what they wanted,” he said.

[pullquote]“I wasn’t sure if they were armed and I didn’t want to get aggressive so I just gave them what they wanted[/pullquote]

He handed over his phone and managed to get away before they could get the other items.

He then ran back to the stadium to ask the on-duty police for help, “they tried [to help] but they told me there was nothing they could really do because there were so many people,” he said.

Over the past few weeks there has been a surge of crime in and around Wits campus. Last week Wits Vuvuzela reported three attempted kidnappings outside Main campus in Braamfontein.

Students are urged to be careful and vigilant especially when walking or driving alone at night.

OPINION: SAFA-South African Football Abusers

Luca Kotton, former academy player at Platinum Stars, Junior national player and current academy coach at Balfour Park Alexandra.

Luca Kotton, former academy player at Platinum Stars, Junior national player and current academy coach at Balfour Park Alexandra. Photo: TJ Lemon

No single association in South Africa has taken the responsibility to solve the problems we face in South African football. With current uncertainty over the position of Bafana Bafana coach, Luca Kotton, Wits Vuvuzela journalist and a soccer player, weighs in on the crisis in South African soccer.

The issues

Our current football leadership structures remain in disarray, with not enough time and effort being put into developing young talent across the country. The once successful School of Excellence is a shadow of its once very capable hands that saw the likes of Steven Pienaar being produced. This is an abuse to a country whose football talent far exceeds others. Football leadership is a vital part of our country succeeding on an international level. In many other countries pride is taken in developing their national youth soccer teams whereas, in South Africa national youth soccer teams are almost nonexistent. When compared to other higher internationally ranked sporting codes such as rugby and cricket, school soccer is clearly on the back foot.

[pullquote align=”left”]”The problem is everybody knows the problems but whose going to fix it. Let’s not talk, talk, talk, and let’s do it.” [/pullquote]

These issues extend to the highest organisational levels where the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and SAFA (South African Football Association) fail to see eye to eye in many circumstances. One of the consequences of the lack of synergy between these two key organisations is the repeated drama clubs not releasing players for internationals like the African Nations Cup. But where do we go from here? Who is the right person for the job?

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt, who has often been rumored to step into the national coaching job by media, said there was a need for football associations to take a more proactive stance. “It was needed 20 or 30 years ago, the problem is everybody knows the problems but whose going to fix it. Let’s not talk, talk, talk, and let’s do it. We need people who know what they doing and the problem is do they know football,” he said.

Possible solutions


Local academy coach Daryn Patricio, who is linked with the Dutch football association (KNVB), said the Dutch system advocate linear thinking between all coaches and all members associated with the KNVB. “The Dutch Federation has a very simple way of thinking, you help me and I help you. The Dutch have two important parts to their success. First, they have a coach’s database, where amateur coaches can interact with the national team coach. The second is that each coach needs to re-take his or her coaching license every three years.

Failure to do so results in the license being revoked. The system works because it keeps the whole of the Dutch football community on the same page. This way of thinking would aid our national team because all our coaches would be on one similar path, instead of everyone trying to outdo each other.

SAFA needs to carefully think about their next move in terms of coaching and youth soccer development. A clearly defined youth program is needed if we aspire to be at the levels that Brazil displayed at FNB stadium on March 5 when they beat Bafana Bafana 5-0. For the sake of all the talented youngsters playing on the streets, in townships and school grounds, let’s hope the new SAFA can do justice to our future football stars.