Absa Premiership

Title-challenging Wits put brake on poachers

Gavin Hunt and Jabulani Shongwe (Gallo Images)
Gavin Hunt and Jabulani Shongwe (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The poaching of rare species may be spreading - but Bidvest Wits’ officials aim to stamp out the reprehensible practice when it comes to their most prized aim and sought-after players.

The Premier League team nicknamed "The Clever Boys", who are chasing a first-ever Premier League title, have revealed they are putting a brake on poachers who may be harboured among traditionally more glamorous and affluent clubs in the PSL and have siphoned off the cream of their talent for years..

Wits CEO Jose Ferreira made this clear when he confirmed the club would not be selling any players "who can make a contribution towards our ongoing success" during the current PSL transfer window period.

And, without mentioning any specific players, it left little to the imagination about the fact that Ferreira had recent PSL "Footballer of the Year" and Bafana Bafana's Sibusiso Vilakazi   prominently on the list of  those who are "not for sale" in spite of persistent reports that Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns and now Orlando Pirates are all sniffing at the prospect of signing the Wits star.

"Over the years Wits have produced and nurtured a succession of top-class players," added the Wits CEO, "only for them to be systematically lured away by tempting signing fees and the  glamour of playing for the teams with greater fan support."

But with the ever-increasing support of the multi-billion Bidvest business conglomerate and the personal interest of company chairperson Brian Joffe, the club are no longer vulnerable to the penchant of the soccer poachers to make a killing.

Emphasising this is the assertion of Vilakazi himself that the growing band of Wits' support on the university campus has been a major factor in the team's success this season.

"We greatly appreciate this increased support," he added, "and hope it will keep on growing as the season progresses."

And uncompromising Wits coach Gavin Hunt has demonstrated the new, ambitious approach at the club by signing players during the transfer window to strengthen both his attacking and defensive potential.

"The decisions on the buying and selling of players are made in the boardroom," he said. "But they know what I want and I'm gratified by the support I am getting in this direction."

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