Home Sport Buccaneers-bound Tyson appreciates everything that Wits did for him

Buccaneers-bound Tyson appreciates everything that Wits did for him

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The Clever Boys were sold to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila due to financial constraints, forcing players, technical team and administrative staff to look for new job opportunities.

A tearful Thulani Hlatshwayo of Bidvest Wits addresses players as the club ceases to exist after selling its franchise during the Absa Premiership 2019/20 football match between Bidvest Wits and Polokwane at Soccer City, Johannesburg on Saturday. Picture: Gavin Barker, BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Wits’ outgoing captain and defender Thulani Hlatshwayo had a lump in his throat when he described the incredible six-year stint he had with the club.

It’s been a testing six-month period for South African football due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but more misery was added when the oldest club in the PSL announced that they had sold their top-flight status ahead of the new season.

The Clever Boys were sold to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila due to financial constraints, forcing players, technical team and administrative staff to look for new job opportunities.

The 99-year Wits chapter closed when the final whistle blew after they beat Polokwane City 3-1 to finish fourth in the league standings on Saturday.

“It’s was a sad feeling when the guys played their last game against Polokwane. There were a lot of emotions around the team,” Hlatshwayo said.

“I’ve been here for six years. So, when we played the last match, it wasn’t a good mood nor space to be in.”

In 2017, Hlatshwayo hoisted the club’s first-ever league title after a 95-year wait, while earlier, in the same season, they had won the MTN8.

Granted they were brought down to earth the following season after the chopping and changing of personnel, but coach Gavin Hunt’s troops still won a trophy when they bagged the Telkom Knockout.

But all that success, and all their history, will gradually become a distant memory that will lose value as there will be no generation that will carry the legacy going into the future.

“I’ve had a good journey with Wits, coming from Ajax Cape Town,” Hlatshwayo said.

“There was a season that we missed out on the title to Pirates, while I was at Ajax, but those moments made me gain experience.

“The league title that I won at Wits was my first trophy. And I am grateful that the team was interested in me and invested. All I can say is that I appreciate everything that the club has done. I am happy that I chose Wits when I came back home after leaving at a young age.”

But while players such as “Tyson”, who will join hometown club Orlando Pirates ahead of the new season, are guaranteed jobs from next month, sadly, not the same can be said for some of his teammates who will have to search for new teams.

However, kudos should go to the Wits’ professionalism as they ensured they didn’t drop their heads after the restart to the campaign – with their title aspirations dashed by a 1-0 defeat to Black Leopards in the penultimate round of the season.

In the end, though, Wits closed their chapter in top-flight football by finishing fourth on the standings, seven points behind champions Mamelodi Sundowns who snatched the title on the final day of the season.

“We were motivated to finish as high as we can. The other plan was to also win the Nedbank Cup. We only lost two games in the bubble. But we also wanted to put the new owners in a Caf competition next season,” Hlatshwayo said.

@Mihlalibaleka