Absa Premiership

Students call for the respect they deserve

Wits chief executive José Ferreira has criticised Sundowns’ mind games. (Gavin Barker, BackpagePix)
Wits chief executive José Ferreira has criticised Sundowns’ mind games. (Gavin Barker, BackpagePix)

Johannesburg - Champions Bidvest Wits have taken a dig at Mamelodi Sundowns for their lack of respect after the Brazilians called them names in the run-up to the title challenge.

Wits also questioned Sundowns’ mind-game tactics, which the league winners said were meant to destabilise the side.

This comes after Sundowns released a statement on the eve of the clubs’ penultimate matches, saying they would recall two players who were on loan at Wits.

Victory of respect

But the Students had the last laugh in the title race when they won it on Wednesday after beating Polokwane City. Chief executive officer José Ferreira could not help but take a dig at Sundowns, who could only manage a draw against Maritzburg United – effectively giving the Clever Boys the title.

Following Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane’s comments about Wits’ style of play, Ferreira dedicated the championship to Sundowns.

“This victory for me was also a victory of humility over arrogance; a victory of respect over disrespect,” said Ferreira, before adding that “this is a victory of Bidvest Wits – not Stoke City. I repeat, Bidvest Wits. People must respect that name over the African champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

“I know their name...I know who they are and respect them. I have lots of respect for Patrice Motsepe, who has worked very hard to get them to where they are today. Unfortunately, some people have forgotten what that club is about”.

This was in reference to Mosimane comparing the trip to Bidvest Stadium with a visit to notoriously physical Stoke City in the English Premiership after his side’s loss to Wits.

“Have you been to Stoke? This is what happens in Stoke,” said Mosimane earlier this month.

Bitter taste

Ferreira said it was time those within football started respecting one another.

“I sometimes get the feeling that we don’t get the respect we deserve. This is good for South African football because the more teams challenge for the league, the better for the league. We need other clubs to do so. A stronger Chiefs, a bigger Pirates and a powerful Sundowns, who made us immensely proud, is good for us as we need a competitive league.

“If Bidvest can do it, so can others,” said Ferreira.

Wits coach Gavin Hunt was also unhappy with Sundown’s statement on the eve of the matches.

Downs’ statement was about recalling Cuthbert Malajila and Mogakolodi Ngele, who were on loan at Wits.

The pair have now won back-to-back championships – they lifted the trophy with Sundowns last season.

Hunt questioned the timing of the media release, saying it left a bitter taste in his mouth.

“What can I say?” asked Hunt. “I wanted to play both of them and I’d have done so if Cuthbert was not injured”.

But, surprisingly, Ngele played well on the night against City until he was replaced late in the game.