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.


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.

SOCCER: Bidvest Wits take over Mamelodi Sundowns’ second place

The Clever Boys snatch second place on the log after a 1-0 victory over the Brazilians at home last night. 

DOWN TO THIRD PLACE: Mamelodi Sundowns dropped to third place with 37 points on the table while Sibusiso Vilakazi's 1-0 lead moved Bidvest Wits up to second place with 40 points.             Photo: Nqobile Dludla

DOWN TO THIRD PLACE: Mamelodi Sundowns dropped to third place with 37 points on the table while Sibusiso Vilakazi’s 1-0 lead moved Bidvest Wits up to second place with 40 points. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

A second half victory goal from Sibusiso Vilakazi ended the defending champions Mamelodi Sundown’s 15 game unbeaten run in the league at the Bidvest Stadium on Tuesday night.

The hosts moved up to second place with 40 points, while Sundowns dropped to third place with 37 points.

Sundowns’ coach Pitso Mosimane who was disappointed stressed that it was “a difficult game” as his men pushed hard against The Clever Boy’s defensive wall.

“We all want to win but tonight was not the night. Malajila could have stole it there but that did not happen . When the ball hits the post in the last minute and doesn’t go in, you just know that it’s not your night but you have to accept defeat”, said Mosimane.

The Clever Boys came out guns blazing with the first chance coming from Vilakazi at the far post, his chance was missed though as his attempt landed in the hands of goalkeeper Dennis Onyango in the first 2 minutes of the game.

Earning a chance from a set-piece, Jabulani Shongwe’s over the post shot hindered a lead from The Clever Boys who dominated with ball possession in the opening minutes .

The Brazilians finally made a run past the center line after three minutes into the game with Khama Billiat sneaking a pass to the fast paced Cuthbert Malajila who threatened to net one, but Thulani Hlatshwayo quickly stopped The Brazilians.

In the 19th minute Billiat tried for another chance which went straight to Moenneb Josephs.

A promising free kick from Teko Modise after he was tripped by Phumlani Ntshangase failed to materialize as Bidvest Wits applied pressure at the back.

The hopeful Kees Kwakman had a brilliant opportunity to send The Clever Boys into a lead in the 40th minute as he sent a potential lead goal straight over the goal post from inside the box, leaving Bidvest Wits fans shaking their heads in disappointment.

Gavin Hunt’s men won the tactical battle in the first half, but for all their dominance in the first half they still had no goals to show.

Sundowns came back from half time with a slight change of attitude as they bravely tried to keep their place as runners up on the log, but a duel  attack by Bidvest Wits players Henrico Botes and Faty inside the box sent Onyango and Ramahlwe Phahlele on the ground.

Winning a second set-piece, Sundowns Modise sent his shot well over the top from a good position following a desperate scramble from The Clever Boys defence.

Hunt’s men finally proved their dominance when Nhlapo passed a straight shot to Vilakazi who dribbled past the sliding Mphahlele and netted a lead goal.

Shongwe threatened to give The Clever boys another goal when his attempt was shot wide after receiving a pass from Vilakazi.

Sundowns nearly equalized the score when Malajila’s golden opportunity hit the right goal post.

With under two minutes to go, the Brazilians pushed hard to equalize, but as the minutes died out it was clear that Mosimane’s men will be forced to give way to Bidvest Wits as they collected three points with their victory.



Bidvest Wits goes for a mix of youth and experience in new signings

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has opted for a mix of youth and experience in the team's new signings. Photo: Courtesy Bidvest Wits.

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has opted for a mix of youth and experience in the team’s new signings. Photo: Bidvest Wits.

Nine new players have joined premier league side Bidvest Wits ahead of the start of the season in August.

Gavin Hunt, Bidvest coach, appears to have gone with a mix of youth and experience, with five of the new signings over 30-years-old.

Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela, Hunt said, “The team was very thin in defence, I lost some defenders last season so I had to replace them and strengthen the squad.”

“With the new guys on board, they bring a lot experience, played a lot games between them, versatile in their positions and that’s why we bought them.”

The experienced players include Platinum Stars striker Henrico Botes, Maritzburg United left-side player Dillon Shepard, Moroko Swallows defensive player Giorgi Nergadze, Zambian Christopher Katongo and Dutch Eredivisie star Kees Kwakman.

Hunt also opted for four young talents with Nedbank Cup young player nominee Vincent Pule And University of Pretoria star Buhle Mkhwanazi.

Thulani Hlatshwayo from Ajax Cape Town and 20-year-old Mthokozisi Msomi from Roses United, also join the squad which finished third in the league last season.

When Hunt was asked if he leans on either youth or experience, he said, “A bit of everything, we have lots of young players in the squad and the new signings were brought in to bring stability and help the young ones come on. The reason we came third was because we lacked experience and the combination of youth plus experience is what’s needed for season.”

Hunt will need the experience of the new signings as the team looks likely to participate in this year’s Confederations Cup based on a decision by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to increase the number of South Africa teams in the competition to four. Bidvest Wits together with Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates qualify for the tournament. 

The Clever Boys will start their new season with a clash against Bloemfontein Celtic on August 1 at the Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg.

Wits hosts under-17 soccer tournament

READY: Bidvest Wits under 17 team always come in as one of the possible winners for the Engen tournament. Photo: Provided

READY: Bidvest Wits under 17 team always come in as one of the possible winners for the Engen tournament. Photo: Provided

Wits University will play host to the country’s top junior soccer players when the under-17 Engen Knockout Regional Challenge comes to campus from July 18-20.

The tournament sees the best of Gauteng’s youth teams taking part in the sixteen team showpiece.

The winner of the event will face the other regional winners around the country to lift the champions-of-champions trophy in Soweto in October.

Gauteng is arguably the most competitive leg of the tournament hosting teams like Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, Bidvest Wits and last years’ winners Mamelodi Sundowns.

Engen sponsorship manager Brad Bergh emphasised the tournament is a foundation for developing future Bafana Bafana stars who will follow in the footsteps of the likes of Thulani Serero, Katlego Pule and Asive Langwe all of whom have played in the tournament.

Chiefs draw typical of Clever Boys season

WEDNESDAY night’s at home draw with Kaizer Chiefs was a fair reflection of the Clever Boys frustrating, score-scarce season.

While the match was packed with drama, none of the excitement resulted in any goals, leaving Bidvest Wits to continue their seven-match unbeaten run of which three were goalless draws.

The draws have resulted in the Clever Boys falling short of their main rivals Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs.

“We should have won the league this year, we have drawn five games like this at home when we should have won all of them comfortably,” Clever Boys coach Gavin Hunt said.

STALEMATE: Bidvest Wits and Kaizer Chiefs play out to a 0-0 draw, denting both their title hopes. Photo:Nqobile Dludla

STALEMATE: Bidvest Wits and Kaizer Chiefs play out to a 0-0 draw, denting both their title hopes. Photo:Nqobile Dludla

Wednesday’s match saw an exciting first half with poor finishing being the only downfall for the Clever boys.

The second half saw both teams hit the woodwork, with both goalkeepers pulling off good quality saves.

The PSL League Title

A win for Wits would have surely handed Sundowns the Premier Soccer League title, but Mamelodi fans were still feeling good with the draw denting Kaizer Chiefs title hopes.

The Clever Boys have all but secured third position in the league with their nearest contenders SuperSport United languishing eleven points behind after their 0-1 defeat to bottom-of-the-log Golden Arrows.

The Clever Boys move their attention

The Clever Boys’ attention will now move to their semi-final clash for the Nedbank Cup on May 3 where they will again face Kaizer Chiefs. They will be looking for revenge after their disappointing league outing as well as a pay-out of at least R7-million for the cup winners. The home ground advantage for the Clever Boys may be a telling factor.

A Nedbank Cup victory would mean a lot to Hunt, who will be marking his one-year anniversary at the club next month. He said Wednesday’s match couldn’t be compared to the coming Nedbank Cup clash as they were completely different.

A new look team

Hunt has come to the Clever Boys and changed their style of playing drastically with some pleasing results. The team is on track to improve its log position from last season, where it placed fourth, by a slim margin.

This season has seen Bidvest Wits make big strides in their conquest to become the best team in South Africa with the likes of S’thembiso Ngcobo arriving from Kaizer Chiefs and Jabulani Shongwe arriving from Sundowns in the January transfer window.

The arrival of Hunt and the new players could put the team in a completely different position and next season could see the Clever Boys win their first PSL title.

“You will always aim to do better than last season, next season we going to go out for it and make sure we win something,” said Clever Boys left back Onismor Bhasera.

Wits will finish the season with three matches in the PSL against Maritzburg United, Pirates and Bloemfontein Celtic, on top of their Nedbank Cup duties.