Bidvest Wits gets maiden title

By Thandisizwe Mgudlwa

CAPE TOWN – Bidvest Wits has had to wait for 96 years to claim their maiden premier league championship.

With a game to spare, the ‘Clever Boys’, as they are fondly known, the South African outfit, were crowned the Premier Soccer League winners for the 2016/17 soccer season.

May 17, 2017 will be remembered as the day Wits turned their football misfortunes changed and added a new chapter in the South African soccer landscape. On the championship winning nights, Wits overwhelmed Polokwane City by 2-0.

In another nail biting contest for the championship second placed, Mamelodi Sundowns, drew 2-2 against Maritzburg United and this result automatically put their hopes of defending their ABSA Premier League title out of reach.

Wits needed Maritzburg to at least hold Sundowns to a draw. And gained maximum 3 points against Polokwane. They did just that.

On the third minute of the game James Keene opened the scoring for Wits, and on the hour mark Daine Klate, the most decorated league winner, made sure it was 2-0 to Wits.

Wits coach Gavin Hunt is now level with other coaching greats like Ted Dumitru, Jeff Butler and Gordon Igesund on the list of coaches to have won four league titles in South Africa.

The 52 year-old Hunt has already marked his name down in the history books as he won back-to-back titles with SuperSport United between 2008 and 2010. And has now added another one with the ‘Clever Boys’.

Hunt joins Dumitru, who won two each with Sundowns and Chiefs; Jeff Butler, who won three with Chiefs and one with Sundowns; as well as Gordon Igesund, who won four championships  with four different clubs, Manning Rangers, Orlando Pirates, Santos and Sundowns.

“We’ve done well away as well, but it’s a culmination of hard work. It wasn’t easy… Yoh! Can’t really talk much!” Hunt, wiping tears away from his eyes, told SuperSport in a post-match interview.

“When I first came here, I looked at this squad and I said that I didn’t think the team was good enough. And I’ve been here for four years now – third, third, second and now champions!

“So, it’s taken a long time to try and overhaul the team, change everything – change the mentality, how we want to do it, how we want to play. It takes time, and for a club like Bidvest Wits to win the league is unbelievable.

“I had so many players who phoned me this morning, guys who are legends of the club. It’s a great achievement.”

May 2017
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