African Wanderers glory days could be on the horizon after buyout of bay united

2010-07-19 00:00

GLORY days at one of the oldest South African football clubs, African Wanderers, could be on the horizon again following the KwaZulu-Natal team buying out the National First Division franchise of Port Elizabeth outfit Bay United in the Coastal Stream.

Wanderers chairman and director Zibuse Mlaba confirmed this news to The Witness after finalising the deal on Friday with Izingwe Holdings, owners of the cash-strapped United, after sponsors Volkswagen had pulled out of the PE First Division team. Izingwe were represented by Mark Sifrif when the deal was signed.

Mlaba did not disclose the sale amount, but said that the team will move to Pinetown, where its home ground will be the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont, which was renovated for the World Cup as an official training ground.

Although Mlaba has re-registered African Wanderers Pty Ltd, which differs from the outfit owned by the late Vusi Mkhize, which was known as African Wanderers FC cc, he stressed that his club has a warm relationship with the Mkhize family from Hammarsdale in shaping the legacy of Wanderers. The club first formed in Estcourt in 1906.

Mlaba said his club has followed all Premier Soccer League procedures in buying the status of a club and the paperwork will be finalised this week.

He said the deal includes nine current players from Bay United and other players will soon be recruited by a new coach.

Vela Ngubane, who has been coaching Wanderers since its revival, will help identify players to be recruited following the departure of Zimbabwean Shepherd Murape, who has joined Dynamos in the Inland Stream.

Trials of new recruits will be conducted by Ngubane at Parlock Grounds at Newlands East in Durban from today until Friday.

The buyout of United’s status follows the failure of Wanderers to reach the Safa Vodacom national play-offs, losing out to Island of Nongoma, who were not promoted to First Division.

Mlaba said they registered Wanderers Pty Ltd in 2006 after Wanderers cc were relegated to the Super League of the Hammarsdale Local Football Association.

“We have sponsors lined up who promised to come on board once we acquire First Division status,” Mlaba said.

“Plans are afoot to revive Wanderers and make it a top brand in South African football again.”

Wanderers’ new regime is determined to revive the legacy of the club, which in the past has produced quality players who made their mark in European football, such as Bafana Bafana’s 2010 World Cup squad member Siyabonga “Bhele” Nomvete and Sibusiso “Rhee” Zuma, who represented his country in the 2002 World Cup in South Korea/Japan.

Kaizer Chiefs’ veteran goalkeeper Arthur Bartman also started his professional career at Wanderers.

In the early 1970s, Kaizer Motaung was aided in establishing Chiefs as a new force in South African football with the signings of Alfred “Bomber” Chamane and later Michael “Bizzah” Dlamini, both originally from Wanderers.

Midfielders Pretus “Ten Ten” Nzimande from Mooi River and Moren “Samora” Khulu also later joined Chiefs from Abaqulusi.

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