One short of its century, Wits bows out of football

Three players who represented Wits in three generations – Mike Ntombela in the 80s, Neil Winstanley in the 90s and Sifiso Myeni in the 2000s – look back at their time with the soon-to-be defunct club and what Wits mean to them.

The walk from the crease back to the pavilion after missing out on reaching a century is long and painful for a batsman, especially when they were on 99.

This, though, is not a cricket story. It’s a football story. It’s a story about Bidvest Wits, who after 99 years of existence will not get to a century which they would have celebrated next year. Instead, the club will relocate to Thohoyandou and be called Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) after Masala Mulaudzi bought Wits’ status.

By the end of September, the 29 employees at Wits will be without a job, including the coaches in the development side, such as club legends Ashley Makhanya and Charles Yohane. A select group of first team players, still to be revealed, will join TTM in Limpopo. Those who aren’t part of that group, or haven’t been signed elsewhere but still had contracts with Wits, will have to be paid out by the Braamfontein-based side.

The players in the club’s development side have been given their clearances and can start looking for teams elsewhere for next year. A few of the MultiChoice Diski Challenge (MDC) players, such as Rowan Human, Keenan Phillips and Mpho Mathebula, have been promoted to the first team, but TTM still has to make a decision on whether to keep them.

“With the players in the development, we gave them their clearances,” director and board member George Mogotsi says. “We had age groups from Under-13 to 19 and we had the MDC team. There are boys who will stay at Sturrock Park until the end of the year because they need to go to school.

This article was initially published at newframe


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