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.



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.

Gavin on the hunt for a Clever cup


READY FOR ACTION: Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt looks on as his team tackle Platinum Stars in a friendly match at Sturrock Park before the new season.

READY FOR ACTION: Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt looks on as his team tackle Platinum Stars in a friendly match at Sturrock Park before the new season.

Wits attacking ace Sibusiso Vilakazi will be staying with the Clever Boys as coach Gavin Hunt looks to improve on last year’s season with more points and another cup final.

There has been speculation over Clever Boy Vilakazi, last year’s captain and PSL player of the season. Hunt told Wits Vuvuzela that Vilakazi would be at Wits this season unless something came up from overseas.

Hunt said Vilakazi did a great job last season as captain, however he was considering removing him from that leadership role. 

“Maybe we need to free him up a little bit,” Hunt said.

Last season Bidvest Wits finished third in the Premier Soccer League (PSL), reached the final of the Nedbank Cup and qualified to play in Africa.

With many new players coming in Hunt said, “It’s all about me putting the jigsaw together this season but I don’t have to change too much because we did very well last season.”

Hunt has so far signed nine players, with five of them being over the age of 30. “I don’t see age, I see players’ ability. I think all players that we have signed still have legs on them, they have a lot of streetwise, a lot of know-how but we did have a little bit of imbalance with experience last year and I think that cost us the league,” he said.

With goalkeeper Dennis Onyango having returned to Sundowns and Jackson Mabokgwane likely to leave during the new season, Hunt told Wits Vuvuzela he has a bit of a problem in the goalkeeping department.

Rowen Fernandez looks set to make his return to Bidvest Wits this season, after being seen training during the week with the Clever Boys.Hunt would not officially confirm to Wits Vuvuzela that Fernandez was joining the team but said he could add a lot of experience and potentially help Bidvest Wits in the goalkeeping department.

With scoreless draws being a thorn in the Clever Boys’ side last season, Hunt said players such as Henrico Botes and Christopher Katongo coming in would do well this season with other players that can deliver the ball.

He added that the team’s set pieces were not good last season and he was looking to improve this aspect to score more goals.

With the Bidvest under-17 team recently reaching the finals of the Engen Cup, Hunt has signed two youth players from the academy.The duo consists of 15-year-old Liam Jordan and 20-year-old Julian De Freitas.

The Clever Boys’ first official game of the season will take place on August 1 at Bidvest Stadium in a quarter-final clash against Bloemfontein Celtic in the MTN8 competition.

SOCCER: Clever Boys Captain in the running for three PSL awards

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC: Sibusiso Vilakazi battles away in their Nedbank Cup win over Kaizer Chiefs. Photo: Luca Kotton

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC: Sibusiso Vilakazi battles away in their Nedbank Cup win over Kaizer Chiefs. Photo: Luca Kotton

Sibusiso Vilakazi could finish this weekend with a cupboard-full of silverware and a cheque for R7-million for his team.

The captain of Bidvest Wits will lead his team in the Nedbank Cup final against Orlando Pirates on Saturday, and on Sunday, could walk away with any of 3 awards at the annual Premier Soccer League (PSL) awards.

The 24-year-old Soweto-born midfielder debuted for Wits in the 2009/2010 season after being groomed by the Bidvest Wits academy.

He has since notched up over 100 first-team appearances and been rewarded with the club’s captaincy and two national team caps for South Africa.

Vilakazi’s leadership saw his team finish third in the PSL this year and he has been nominated for the player of the season, the ABSA premiership players’ player of the season and the Nedbank Cup player of the tournament at the end of season awards.

Overseas target

Vilakazi’s performance has attracted some interest from Brondby in Denmark and the Clever Boys captain may be jetting overseas by the beginning of next season.

According to Vilakazi, he spent a week in Denmark on trial and a transfer there looks likely. Vilakazi has spent the last 5 years of his professional career with the Clever Boys and has no regrets.

“So far it has been great. I have worked through step by step, baby steps as well. I hope I can grow better and better.”

With an exciting weekend ahead for the Clever Boys captain, he said, “I’m hoping it will start with the cup final and we will see what happens with the awards but I’m hoping we lift the trophy.”

The final showdown

The Nedbank Cup final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, on Saturday afternoon, will be a tightly contested match if the draw in their last meeting is anything to go by. Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt said, “Winning the cup will define if the season is good or bad.”

Vilakazi will no doubt play a vital role in the clash on Saturday afternoon and said, “It comes down to that important day, what happened in the past doesn’t matter, we focus on what’s happening now.”

Vilakazi said that his team deserves at least one trophy for the season. He would be lifting the trophy as captain if they win and he added,” I believe in my team and each and every individual.”


SOCCER: Clever Boys defeat Kaizer Chiefs in epic semi-final

TIGHt BATTLE: The Clever Boys captain, Sibusiso Vilakazi, gets chased by Kaizer Cheifs Defender Erik Mathoho. Photo: Luca Kotton

TIGHT BATTLE: The Clever Boys captain, Sibusiso Vilakazi, gets chased by Kaizer Chiefs defender Erik Mathoho in a tense match at Bidvest Stadium. Photo: Luca Kotton

The Clever Boys are into the Nedbank Cup final with a resounding victory over Kaizer Chiefs on home turf earlier this afternoon.

The semi-final clash ended on equal terms (2-2) after extra time but Wits overcame the AmaKhosi 4-2 on penalties to win the tightly contested match at the Bidvest Stadium.

The first half of the match saw both teams return to the dressing room with a goal a piece. The Clever Boys broke the deadlock with captain Sibusiso Vilakazi netting a penalty past Chiefs captain, Itumeleng Khune.

Shortly after, another penalty was awarded, this time in Chief’s favour, with striker,  Katlego Mphela, netting the equaliser.

Wits started the second half strongly with an early goal by ex- Chiefs striker, Amos Ngcobo. This was cancelled out by an easy tap in from George Maluleka after some good work by Kingston Nkhata, who was booed the during the entire match by his own supporters.

The first half of extra time held nothing exciting with both teams taking a cautious approach. The second half though saw pressure from Kaizer Chiefs, which saw them hitting the post in the first few seconds. Wits rarely troubled Chiefs in the last few minutes as the  score held out to go into penalties.

Wits sealed the win by netting every one of their four penalties. Chiefs though, had failed to score two of their penalties with a miss by the iconic Siphiwe Tshabalala. Wits’ Moeneeb Joseph also managed a save against Reneilwe Letsholonyane.

Clever Boys coach, Gavin Hunt, was delighted by the victory and at the prospect of playing in a big final. Speaking exclusively to Wits Vuvuzela after the match, Hunt said, “it’s going to be a hell of a game whoever we play, where we play is going to big thing because the venue is always important.”

Wits will face the winners of the Orlando Pirates/Maritzburg United match later tonight at the Harry Gwala Stadium.

The date and venue of the game is yet to be decided and will be announced after the conclusion of the second semi-final later this evening.